Per- & Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Information
The Department of Public Works is presenting the following information relating to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) October 2nd, 2020 enacted public drinking water standard maximum contaminant limit (MMCL) of 20 nanograms per liter (ng/L) or parts per trillion (ppt) - for the sum of the concentrations of six identified PFAS substances.
June 2021: The Town of Maynard's public drinking supply is currently not in violation of the newly adopted standard limits of 20 (ng/L). We are providing this information as a means to take a proactive approach to our community educational outreach program, while the department unilaterally shifts utility capital improvement planning, and updates our water emergency response plan as a precautionary measure.
Currently there are several communities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who are currently in violation, these communities have had to react in manners that have a detrimental effect to their water capacity and ability to provide water to their customers, while also having a large impact on the immediate need for large allocations of funding to address their short and longterm remediation.
Prior to the adoption of Massachusetts DEP allowance limits to 20 (ng/L) on October 2nd, 2020. The United States Environmental Protection Agencies (USEPA) Health Advisory standard of 70 (ng/L) was the standard in which public drinking water utilities monitored and designed treatment plant processes to meet. Maynard's three water treatment plants have never been designed to remove PFAS, as our historical testing data had little indication for the need to address these chemicals, like so many other systems in the Commonwealth.
The Maynard Department of Public Works has been proactively testing our public drinking supply for levels of PFAS. See above for the results of PFAS levels at each water source within our utility system in chronological order starting August of 2019. We have participated in a voluntary testing collaborative initiative between DEP and the University of Massachusetts extension program to allow the Department of Public Works to acquire additional data to confirm our level trends.
Currently, our historical data trends are on the rise, specifically at our Old Marlborough Road (Well Number 1 and Number 1A) and Treatment Plant Number 4 (Well Number 4) locations. After review of initial and confirmation monitoring, results have consistently averaged above 10 (ng/L).
Currently the Department of Public Works is not required to inform customers per DEP rules and regulations, the rules indicate public outreach only when a violation of the maximum limit's threshold of 20 (ng/L) occurs.
The Maynard Department of Public Works does not want to take a reactive approach to this situation, we are starting our public outreach program immediately. We will be providing information included in this memo with additional information to allow our customers to understand the issue, and what the DPW is doing in advance to mitigate the impact of PFAS to our community.
In parallel to the development of our public outreach program, the department has pivoted and adjusted our 5-Year / 4-Phase water capital improvement plan, specifically incorporating PFAS removal treatment processes into our current development of Well 4A construction and preliminary designs. This will have an impact on our current funding allocation plan, and we will continue to explore all financial options to include this PFAS removal processes in our planned treatment plant upgrade/incorporation of Well 4A.
We are currently modifying the departments Water System Emergency Response Plan to incorporate the potential of a violation, with procedures that will allow the department to react and adjust in an expedited manner for our customers.
Given the analytical testing data's positive trend, there is a potential the Town of Maynard's public water system may have one or two sources violate the DEP mandatory limit level of 20 (ng/L) in the foreseeable future. If a violation occurs, it will require significant resource allocations to address the remediation effects. Planning for an event of this significance is vital. We will continue to position the utility to proactively mitigate, and plan for this situation.