Water contamination concerns continue in Westfield

Issues with Barnes Aquifer could also be a concern for nearby communities, such as Holyoke

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Water contamination continues to be a discussion for Westfield residents, and now those of surrounding communities as well.

Concern started to be voiced in October for high chemical levels in the Barnes Aquifer, and some are worried about neighboring communities, such as Holyoke.

MassDEP says that these chemicals are suspected to have come from firefighting foam that the National Guard used from the 1950’s through the 80’s, and had been on the Barnes Regional Airport grounds as recently as last year. MassDEP says that they asked Barnes Air National Guard Base to test their private wells, but were left waiting on a response.

In the meantime, Westfield also shut down two wells, and has been conducting testing regularly. The Department of Public Works says that the water is safe to drink.

“On the Westfield side of things, we are looking to build a treatment plant up by the airport for Wells 7 and 8, and also looking at a possible treatment plant for Wells 1 and 2,” Assistant Director of Public Works Francis Cain said.

MassDEP officials have urged the city to look at legal means to recoup money that they have spent on dealing with the issue. In addition to Barnes, there are several sites across the nation with contamination issues related to the firefighting foam.

MassDEP says that it expects the National Guard to have results from their investigation in the next two weeks.