Barnstable Officials in Talks to Relocate Hyannis Water System Wells

Barnstable Town Hall.

HYANNIS – Officials with the Town of Barnstable have met with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife to discuss the potential of siting new water supply wells on state land.

The talks follow contamination concerns at previous well locations.

A recent report from the Silent Spring Institute indicated that the Hyannis water system has been impacted by PFAS contamination, mostly from the use of firefighting foams at the Barnstable Fire Training Academy and Barnstable Municipal Airport.

Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells said they have done some model runs on the project.

“At this point, we’re ready to make suggestions through DPW and our water supply division as to how we would see this proceeding,” said Ells.

“We’re still in that investigation stage, but we’re out there in specific locations on the ground beginning the process and that’s what we’re looking to have agreement on,” said Ells.

Silent Spring continues to work on the study of private wells in the region as part of the STEEP Superfund Research program, which is a collaboration with the University of Rhode Island and Harvard University.

“This is concerning because PFAS exposure has been linked to immune system effects, thyroid disease, certain types of cancer, including testicular and kidney cancer, as well as other effects like low birth weight,” said Dr. Laurel Schaider, a Silent Spring researcher, last year.

Hyannis water is currently being treated for these contaminants.

“But we know that they can stick around in our body for extended periods of time for some of them on the order of years,” Schaider said.

Schaider said researchers continue to investigate to learn more about health effects from the PFASs.

“There are many individual PFAS chemicals and we really only have information about a few of them,” she said.


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