Barnstable County Addressing Groundwater Chemicals

Sean O’Brien

BARNSTABLE – Barnstable County Commissioners continue addressing the issue of the recent to detection of chemicals in the local water supply.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), per the EPA, are a group of man-made chemicals that are manufactured and used in a variety of industries across the globe.

PFAS do not break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time. The EPA said there is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health effects.

Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Director Sean O’Brien presented a comprehensive outline to expand and modernize analytical capabilities for groundwater in the region.

O’Brien emphasized expanding reconnaissance efforts, investing in updated machinery for sample screening, and establishing a public education and communications program. Some commissioners agreed.

Cape Cod Commission groundwater expert Tom Cambareri said that in a recent study of 21 ponds by the Town of Barnstable, PFAS were found in all of them.

Despite concerns over PFAS in the water supply and plans to proceed, it is not viewed as an immediate hazard.

“We have to know that what’s coming out of our tap is safe, and we have to inform the public that, in my feeling, there is no immediate threat to public health, at least in the short term,” said Commissioner Ronald Bergstrom.

“There’s a lot of misinformation going out there. I want people to be aware of what’s going on. I want them to be concerned, but I don’t want them to be scared above what the reality is.”


About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy