The filtration system will be a temporary solution for the city’s contaminated water


The city’s temporary solution to the problem of potentially harmful chemicals in its water supply will be to rent or purchase a filtration system for the problematic Fruit Street well, the board decided on Tuesday.

In addition, residents who have been identified as part of the susceptible subgroup – infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers and immunocompromised people – should be reimbursed for their purchase of bottled water, as they are advised not to drink or drink. cook with the city. water until the problem is solved with the PFAs (artificial per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances). Boiling the water is not a cure, as it actually serves to concentrate the PFAs even more in the water.

Those outside the sensitive subgroup are not considered to be at risk and can continue to use the city’s water, Department of Public Works director John Westerling told the board.

“When we were considering our options, we surveyed the communities around us who are also struggling with the AFP problem,” Westerling said. “As I said before, there are 60 communities in the Commonwealth that are dealing with this. And we also worked with [environmental consulting company] Weston & Sampson to find out what communities are up to.

The city had identified four temporary solutions and sent surveys to residents asking for their opinion. The first was to reimburse customers for the purchase of bottled water. The second was to install a temporary treatment system that would act as a bottle filling station for customers to get water. The third was to install a temporary treatment system – using either granular activated carbon or ion exchange technology – for well 6 and purchase the reusable filter tanks, while the fourth was the same as the third, except that the filtration tanks would be rented.

About 500 customers responded to the survey, and option 3 was the overwhelming choice, with well over 400 choosing it.

City administrators initially supported Option 4, but concerns arose over availability, leading them to support Option 3 or 4.

The long-term solution is a permanent filtration system and / or connection to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water system, Westerling said.

Amy Ritterbusch, selected board member, suggested more aggressive outreach to ensure people who might be in the sensitive subgroup are aware of the situation.

“We can’t communicate too much on this one,” added Member Muriel Kramer, supporting Ritterbusch’s suggestion of an automated phone call to all residents.

Member Brendan Tedstone reminded the public that the federal health directive allows up to 70 parts per trillion of PFA in water, much less stringent than the Massachusetts standard of 20 parts per trillion. Hopkinton has crossed the state limit for three consecutive months – with the highest total on record at 28 – putting the city in violation.

Almost 50 percent of people responding to the city’s survey said they were prepared to support a water tariff increase to pay for a temporary fix. About 25 percent were opposed and about 25 percent said maybe.

Option 3 (purchase of filters) has a total estimated cost over three years of $ 500,000 to $ 600,000. Option 4 (lease) is expected to cost $ 600,000 over three years, with an installation cost of $ 140,000 to $ 160,000 plus monthly rental charges of $ 12,000 to $ 14,000.

“We are looking at every possible opportunity to offset the costs,” Westerling said, noting that the city may request an emergency supply to avoid having to call a special city assembly to approve the spending.

Leah Stanton, vice president of Weston & Sampson’s water program, said the city may be able to raise money through a grant program.

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