Second Well Deactivated Because Of PFAS

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Drinking Water

Tap water

New Urgency For Water Conservation

CHATHAM — A special round of water tests this week revealed that a second public water supply well in Chatham now has levels of PFAS above state standards and has been shut down.

Well 8 is adjacent to Well 5, off Training Field Road, which was shut down in April when levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances rose above the state standard of 20 parts per trillion.  On Friday, Well 8 registered PFAS levels at 20.1 and 20.2, just over the state maximum contaminant level of 20 ppt, prompting the water system operator to take it offline.  Known as “forever chemicals” because they persist in the environment, PFAS are linked to a higher risk of various health problems.

Both wells will remain offline until levels drop below 20 ppt and the select board authorizes their use again.

The loss of Well 8 diminishes the town’s pumping capacity by 550 gallons per minute.  As a result, “the town is again strongly urging adherence to the water conservation measures made mandatory on May 18, 2021,” a town announcement reads.

Under those measures, outdoor watering is only allowed on odd- or even-numbered calendar days based on a property’s street number and is limited to an inch or less. Irrigation by garden hose is allowed between 6 p.m. and midnight, and in-ground sprinkler systems are limited to midnight to 6 a.m.  Washing of sidewalks and driveways is also prohibited.

Town officials stress that town water remains is safe to drink.

This article has been changed to correct an error.