- Department of Public Works
- Important Information about Your Drinking Water
Important Information about Your Drinking Water
The North Attleboro Water Department has levels of PFAS6 above the Drinking Water Standard.
This report contains important information about your drinking water.
Please translate it or speak with someone who understands it or ask the contact listed below for a translation.
The North Attleboro Water Department is providing this PUBLIC NOTICE because our water system recently violated a newly promulgated drinking water standard for PFAS6. On October 2, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) promulgated a new drinking water regulation and Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20 nanograms per liter (ng/L) for the sum of six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (called “PFAS6”). The North Attleboro Water Department has confirmed elevated levels of PFAS6 above the 20 ng/L MCL in the McKeon Water Treatment Facility (WTF), one of its drinking water sources, during routine PFAS6 monitoring. We are actively working on corrective actions, including investigating water treatment and other options to reduce PFAS6 levels at the McKeon WTF.
What does this mean?
This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified within 24 hours. Although this is not an emergency, as our customer, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct this situation.
Based on the size of our water system, the new regulation required that the North Attleboro Water Department begin regulatory compliance monitoring for PFAS6 on April 1, 2021. Our water system proactively and voluntarily sampled for PFAS6 prior to the required timeline. Our latest results are listed in the table at this link.
A PFAS6 MCL violation typically occurs when the average of all monthly samples collected over a quarter exceeds the MCL. Our results for Quarter 2, 2021 are above the 20 ng/L MCL for PFAS6. In compliance with the drinking water regulation, we must provide you with this Public Notice so you can make informed decisions about your drinking water while we continue to monitor the water supply.
Some people who drink water containing these PFAS 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 PFAS may also elevate the risk of certain cancers. For more information on PFAS6, see the links listed below.
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 the manufacturing of certain fire-fighting foams, moisture and stain resistant products, and other industrial processes. For more information, see the links listed below.
What do I need to do?
For Consumers in a sensitive subgroup:
Consumers in a sensitive subgroup (e.g., 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. A list of companies that voluntarily tested their water for PFAS and shared the results can be found on MassDEP’s website at this link.
For all Consumers:
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. A list of companies that voluntarily tested their water for PFAS and shared the results can be found on MassDEP’s website here.
In most situations the water can be safely used for washing foods, brushing teeth, bathing, and showering.
Boiling the water will not destroy PFAS6 and will somewhat increase its level due to evaporation of some of the water.
If you have specific health concerns regarding your past exposure while steps are being taken to assess and lower the PFAS concentration in the drinking water, you should see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s link below and consult a health professional, such as your doctor.
Some home water treatment systems used to treat/filter individual faucets or entire homes can or may be able to lower the level of PFAS6 in drinking water. Our public water system has not evaluated any home treatment systems or devices to determine their efficacy to remove and maintain PFAS6 below 20 ng/L and is not aware of a currently available home treatment system or device shown to meet the Massachusetts drinking water standard for PFAS6 of 20 ng/L. Therefore, when deciding on home water treatment for PFAS6, you should be aware of the specific information on home water treatment systems and PFAS6
What is being done?
The North Attleboro Water Department has taken the following proactive measures to assess and lower the PFAS concentration in the drinking water:
We provided Public Education about PFAS in February 2021 after the Adamsdale Well was taken off-line following the receipt of initial PFAS6 sampling results that showed PFAS6 concentrations above 20 ng/L. Adamsdale Well will remain off-line until a new, permanent PFAS treatment facility is constructed. We are currently working with our design engineers on an expedited project to design, permit, and install the new granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment facility by the summer of 2022.
We added additional information on PFAS to the Water Quality section of our website at: https://www.nattleboro.com/department-of-public-works/pages/water-quality
Our other active drinking water sources are sampled monthly, and those sources do not currently contain quarterly average PFAS6 concentrations above the 20 ng/L MCL. We will continue to sample all of our active drinking water sources for PFAS.
We are investigating long-term water treatment options for the McKeon WTF. Our intent is to install a new, permanent GAC PFAS treatment facility at this location.
We intend to provide alternative water to sensitive subgroups at no cost to consumers while long-term corrective actions are being implemented. Sensitive subgroups include pregnant or nursing women, infants, and people diagnosed by their health care provider to have a compromised immune system. For updates on accessing alternative water, please visit our website at https://www.nattleboro.com/department-of-public-works.
When additional information becomes available, this Public Notice will be updated.
Where can I get more information?
For more information, please contact:
North Attleboro Water Department
49 Whiting Street
North Attleborough, MA 02760
P: (508) 695-7790
Hours of Operation:
Mon. – Thurs. 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Fri. 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
For more information on PFAS6 and information on home water treatment, see the links below.
MassDEP Fact Sheet - Questions and Answers for Consumers
CDC ATSDR Information on PFAS for consumers and health professionals
Massachusetts Department of Public Health information about PFAS in Drinking Water
This Public Notice is being sent to you by the North Attleboro Water Department. System ID#: 4211000