Barnstable Officials to Begin Discussing Water Supply Report

Barnstable Town Hall.

HYANNIS – Barnstable town officials are proceeding with the public discussion of its completed New Source Alternatives Evaluation Report for drinking water.

The discussion will include the accomplishment of associated tasks to identify and secure future potential water supply locations within the town.

“This includes installation and testing of wells on identified parcels of land within that report,” said Mark Ells, the Barnstable Town Manager.

“Our DPW has been tasked with the establishment of both internal and external working teams to accomplish this task.”

Ells has requested meetings with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to discuss an expedited permitting process for the siting and approval of potential water supply wells.

“We did that because it is typically three to five years to be able to have a working well,” Ells said. “We would hope that we can shorten that timeframe.”

Ells has spoken with the MassDEP Deputy Commissioner and was informed that he would be hearing back from them quickly.

Town officials are also coordinating with state Fish & Wildlife officials regarding possible water supply wells on a 250-acre parcel of state-owned property that directly abuts the Hyannis public water supply.

The town is seeking to finalize an agreement that would allow for the installation of public water supply wells on the 250-acre Hyannis Ponds Wildlife Management Area.

They have submitted a final agreement authorizing the installation of test wells on the state parcel to Fish & Wildlife for a signature. Plans call for the agreement to be completed shortly with testing to begin this summer.

The issue of the contaminants in local groundwater has been a concern in recent years.

The Hyannis water supply was contaminated by highly fluorinated chemicals, or PFAS.

The PFAS chemicals, which are found in firefighting foam, nonstick coatings, water-repellent clothing and many other household and personal items have been linked to health threats ranging from cancer to decreased fertility.

The contaminants have been linked to the fire academy and the Barnstable Municipal Airport.

In April, Barnstable County officials made a decision to halt the use of water at the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy.

The suspension of the water was set to begin in June.

Town officials were in support of the relocation of the training academy in an effort to slow down contaminants from entering the groundwater from the soil.

County officials are reconsidering that recent decision to halt the use of water at the academy after hearing concerns from Cape Cod fire chiefs.

Ells said town officials recently discussed the issue with local fire chiefs.

“We were sure that they just didn’t have the full picture of our concern,” Ells said. “And we were correct and I think we will take more time with our fire chiefs and their respective commissions if necessary to make sure we are working together because we truly are.”

The town’s management of public drinking water resources focuses on three major categories: managing the existing sources, securing future potential public water supplies, and establishing interconnections with abutting public water supply systems.

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