Important Drinking Water Information

The Norwell Water Department’s

DRINKING WATER PFAS6 PUBLIC EDUCATION

 

This material contains important information about your drinking water.

Please translate it, speak with someone who understands it or ask the contact listed below for a translation.

 

We are providing this Public Education document because elevated levels of PFAS6 were detected at the South Street Treatment Plant during routine sampling. The Norwell Water Department has not violated the drinking water regulations. A PFAS6 Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) violation occurs when the average of all monthly samples collected over a quarter exceeds the MCL. If our system had violated the PFAS6 MCL we would have issued a PUBLIC NOTICE.

 

On October 2, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) promulgated a new drinking water regulation and MCL of 20 nanograms per liter (ng/L, or parts per trillion) for the sum of six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (called PFAS6). The Norwell Water Department has confirmed elevated levels of PFAS6 in the drinking water during routine monitoring. Although the level is above the MCL, a PFAS6 MCL violation has not occurred, as violations are based on three months of testing. Instead, we are required to provide you with these materials to make you aware of the elevated levels so you can make informed decisions about your drinking water while we continue to monitor the water supply and take corrective measures.

 

PFAS6 Results for South Street Treatment Plant

 

Quarterly

Compliance Period

Monitoring Period

Sample Collection Date

PFAS6 Result (ng/L)

PFAS6 MCL (ng/L)

 
 

Quarter 3, 2021

Month 1

7/13/2021

26.4

20

 

 

 

 

South Street Treatment Plant is one of three entrance points that supplies drinking water to our system. The other two locations, Grove Street and Washington Street PFAS6 levels are below the MCL.

 

PFAS6 Results for Grove Street Treatment Plant

 

Quarterly

Compliance Period

Monitoring Period

Sample Collection Date

PFAS6 Result (ng/L)

PFAS6 MCL (ng/L)

 
 

Quarter 3, 2021

Month 1

7/13/2021

5.6

20

 

 

 

PFAS6 Results for Washington Street Treatment Plant

 

Quarterly

Compliance Period

Monitoring Period

Sample Collection Date

PFAS6 Result (ng/L)

PFAS6 MCL (ng/L)

 
 

Quarter 3, 2021

Month 1

7/19/2021

13.5

20

 

 

 

 

 

What is PFAS6?

PFAS6 includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA).  PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in some non-stick cookware, some water-resistant clothing and outerwear, some food and food wrapping, some shampoos and body lotions, some firefighting foams, and in industrial processes.  For more information see the weblinks listed below.

Some people who drink water containing PFAS6 in excess of the MCL may experience certain adverse effects.  These could include effects on the liver, blood, immune system, thyroid, and fetal development.  These PFAS6 may also elevate the risk of certain cancersFor more information, see the links listed below.

 

What should I do?

  • Consumers in a sensitive subgroup (pregnant or nursing women, infants and people diagnosed by their health care provider to have ​a compromised immune system) are advised not to consume, drink, or cook with water when the level of PFAS6 is above 20 ng/L.
  • Consumers in sensitive subgroups are advised to use bottled water for drinking and cooking of foods that absorb water (like pasta).
  • For infant formula, use bottled water or use formula that does not require adding water.
  • Bottled water should only be used if it has been tested. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires companies licensed to sell or distribute bottled water or carbonated non-alcoholic beverages to test for PFAS.  See https://www.mass.gov/info-details/water-quality-standards-for-bottled-water-in-massachusetts#list-of-bottlers-

 

For all other consumers not in a sensitive subgroup

  • If you are not in a sensitive subgroup, you may continue to consume the water because the 20 ng/L value is applicable to a lifetime consuming the water and shorter duration exposures present less risk. 
  • If you have specific health concerns regarding your past exposure, you should see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s link below and consult a health professional, such as your doctor.

 

Steps you can take to reduce your intake - Consider taking the following steps while actions are being implemented to address this issue:

  • For older children and adults (not in a sensitive subgroup), the 20 ng/L value is applicable to a lifetime of consuming the water.  For these groups, shorter duration exposures present less risk.  However, if you are concerned about your exposure while steps are being taken to assess and lower the PFAS6 concentration in the drinking water, use of bottled water will reduce your exposure.
  • Home water treatment systems that are certified to remove PFAS by an independent testing group such as NSF, UL, or the Water Quality Association may be effective in treating the water.  These may include point of entry systems (POE), which treat all the water entering a home, or point of use devices (POU), which treat water where it is used, such as at a faucet.  While some systems have been shown to meet EPA’s higher standard of 70 ng/l for two PFAS compounds (PFOA & PFOS), to date none have demonstrated they can meet MassDEP’s lower standard of 20 ng/l for the six compounds that make up PFAS6.  For information on selecting home treatment devices that are effective in treating the water for PFAS6 follow the weblinks below.
  • In most situations, the water can be safely used for washing foods, brushing teeth, bathing, and showering. 

 

Please note: Boiling the water will not destroy PFAS6 and will somewhat increase its level due to evaporation of some of the water.

 

What is being done?

The Norwell Water Department has taken the following proactive measures:

  • Individual wells/sources were sampled for PFAS6
  • Washington Street Well #8 has been taken out of service. 
  • South Street Well #1 output has been greatly reduced
  • Sources are being blended to deliver water below the MCL.
  • We are investigating treatment options to remove PFAS6.

 

By adjusting operations to provide drinking water below the PFAS6 MCL, wells that have historically have some color need to be pumped at higher rates. Some color may be present until water demand decreases and pumping of these wells can be reduced.  EPA has established color as non-enforceable secondary contaminant and is not considered to present a risk to health. 

 

Where can I get more information?

For more information, please contact John McInnis at 781-659-7924.

See also the weblinks listed below.

 

This public education material is being sent to you by:

 Norwell Water Department. PWS ID#: 419000 Date distributed: 9/13/21

We will provide public notice updates every three months until the situation has been resolved.

 

Please share this information with other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).

 

Rev. 2021-07