North Attleboro to Open Water Kiosk | Local news

NORTH ATTLEBORO – The city will begin providing free filtered water to residents on Monday at the headquarters of the public works department.

The Water Division of the Department of Public Works built a kiosk for members of the public to have access to water free of PFAS, a chemical that has been detected in the city’s water supply.

The booth at 49 Whiting St will begin operations at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Initially, the hours of operation will be 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. “This can be changed based on residents’ needs and feedback,” the water utility said in a notice posted on its website.

“Residents will need to bring their own containers to fill. There is no limit on how much water can be taken, but please be careful of other people who may be waiting. “

Certain groups – including pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under one year of age, or people with weakened immune systems – are warned not to drink water containing levels of PFAS deemed unsafe by state agencies. and federal. “Although it is intended for these subgroups, the kiosk is open to all residents of North Attleboro and Plainville,” the water division said. Plainville obtains some of its drinking water from North Attleboro.

PFAS are synthetic chemicals used in a variety of industrial and consumer goods, including rain gear, some pesticides, rugs, and even makeup. Regulators started removing them 20 years ago in the United States. However, they can still be found in products imported from overseas.

The health effects of PFAS are unclear, although they are believed to affect fetal development and possibly increase the risk of some cancers.

A note was placed on the city’s public works department website and letters were sent to water system customers in late July advising them that PFAS levels above those allowed by state regulators had been found in city water tests.

DPW director Mark Hollowell told city council at the time that since the presence of chemicals was first detected in one of the department’s wells almost a year ago, it well had been closed. But when this spring’s tests showed more of the chemical, the department couldn’t shut down for a well-affected second.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection last October set maximum levels for chemicals at 20 parts per trillion (ppt), Hollowell said, well below the federal standard of 70 ppt. Hollowell told councilors the situation was not an emergency, that there was no threat to the health of the general public, and that North Attleboro is not the only community with high levels of chemicals found during tests.

Some 60 communities are in situations similar to those of North Attleboro, including Attleboro, Foxboro and Mansfield.

The vending machine plan is part of the city’s response, Hollowell said at the time.

North Attleboro is already designing filtration systems that will remove chemicals from the city’s water with help from the government. Work on an affected well is expected to begin and work on a second could be completed in April 2022.

Residents will need to bring their own containers to fill at the Whiting Street location, but the department is asking users to “watch out for other people who may be waiting.”

This project was funded through a grant from the state DEP.

A dozen Massachusetts water supply systems are receiving grants totaling about $ 1.3 million to deal with high levels of PFAS. North Attleboro’s share of the grant will be $ 150,000.

The town’s kiosk will remain open until its water system meets the new DEP regulations for PFAS6.

Residents are asked to call 508-695-7790 with any questions.

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