The Public Notice provided to all Postal Patrons in Acton on June 26, 2020 is a required notice by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). We understand it may have been dense, confusing, and unexpected. The document may be summarized in a series of major take away messages.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.
PFAS can be found in:
Certain PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States as a result of phase outs including the PFOA Stewardship Program in which eight major chemical manufacturers agreed to eliminate the use of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals in their products and as emissions from their facilities. Although PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported into the United States in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber and plastics.
The most recent data representing water that has gone through our treatment plants is summarized here. These numbers may be subject to change if quality control review or compliance calculations change.
In order to understand what a chemical measurement means, one needs to have a basic understanding of the type of measuring units used, and what they mean. As mentioned above, most of our contaminants are measured using concentration units such as ppm and ppb. But what is a ppm, ppb, or ppt for that matter, in plain English?
As an example, lets use an example of liquid chlorine added to our water in the treatment process at 1.0 ppm. This value refers to one part of chemical (in this case liquid chlorine) found in one million parts of our water. To realize how small a value this actually is, read the analogies listed below:
One part per million (ppm) equals:
One part per billion (ppb) equals:
One part per trillion (ppt) equals:
If you do not typically receive a water bill from the Acton Water District and wish to receive future updates regarding PFAS, please visit this website periodically or send an email to email@example.com with “Updates” in the subject line. Please include your name, address, and email to be informed of new information and future developments related to PFAS.
In consultation with MassDEP, our initial Public Notice regarding PFAS is being sent to every Postal Patron in Acton. This includes many people who do not receive water from our sources of supply but may have an interest in knowing that PFAS is present in the community. If you have questions regarding PFAS in your primary water supply, you may wish to contact one of the following water systems that may serve recipients of our Public Notice. Contact phone numbers listed are from publicly available records and may not be current.
Concord Water Division 978-318-3250
Littleton Water Department 978-540-2222
Pine Hill Condominium 978-264-0166
Strawberry Hill Apartments 781-894-3952
Acton Indoor Tennis/Nashoba Sportsman’s Club 978-263-9059
Planet Gymnastics/All Seasons Tennis 978-263-1900
In the spring of 2020, the Acton Board of Health mailed a fact sheet regarding PFAS to owners of private wells that they had contact information for. If you did not receive this information, it can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas-in-private-well-drinking-water-supplies-faq. Additional resources and information will likely be available for private well owners throughout Massachusetts in the future. You may contact the Acton Health Department at 978-929-6632 for additional information on private wells.
As new updates are provided, the previous information will be available here organized by date.
USEPA PFAS Resources: https://www.epa.gov/pfas
MassDEP PFAS Resources for Public Water Supplies: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas
MassDEP PFAS Regulatory Process: https://www.mass.gov/lists/development-of-a-pfas-drinking-water-standard-mcl
MassDEP Bottled Water PFAS Results: https://www.mass.gov/doc/bottled-water-tested-for-pfas