Westfield Board of health elaborated on private wells

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – In spite of the contamination of perflourinated compounds (PFCs) in the city’s public water supply, director of public health Joseph Rouse believes that private wells are safe.

During the board of health meeting yesterday, Rouse addressed concerns about private wells and PFCs like PFOS and PFOA, since many people have been asking about their own wells. He described to the members of the board and the one resident who came to the public meeting that there is little risk not just to those with private wells, but to those who consume water from the public wells, as well.

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The meeting was the first one since the board of health sent out a one-page double-sided advisory and explanation about private well water safety to those who own private wells.

“Knowing the chemical itself and the probability of it affecting a private well is significantly less than with a public well,” Rouse said. “The reality is I would be surprised to see elevated levels in private wells, but you can’t say definitively.”

Rouse said for those concerned, there are two laboratories in the US who test for the chemicals but the cost is high. Rouse estimated that it costs about $600 to test a sample.

Rouse said that due to the shallowness of private wells, it was unlikely that the contaminant would be in those water supplies. The public wells go much deeper he said, which is where more contaminants are.

Regarding the public water supply, Rouse felt that there was still no cause for concern. He said that the wells that were contaminated were taken offline, and the modified exposure levels provided by the EPA are over a lifetime, not just a small time frame.

This lifetime exposure reduction was why pregnant and breast-feeding women were suggested to be cautious with the water–because they would then begin transmitting the PFCs to their children, thus starting a lifetime exposure possible.

The department of health meets again in November, date and time to be determined.

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