PFAS Update Information

The Town of Ayer has posted on the Town Web site important information regarding the Town drinking water and contaminants known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).  In addition, we have mailed a Public Notice to all of Ayer’s water customers. We have been monitoring this issue since it was discovered in the Town water supply and have taken actions to reduce the levels to below the current health guidelines established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).  This notice is intended to provide current information concerning Ayer’s and MassDEP’s efforts to address PFAS in drinking water and provide health protective guidelines.

The EPA in 2016 published a drinking water Health Advisory Level for two of the PFAS compounds (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluoroocatanoic acid (PFOA)) combined at 0.070 micrograms per liter (ug/L) or 70 parts per trillion (ppt). In June 2018, MassDEP issued an Office of Research and Standards guideline (ORSG) for drinking water of 70 ppt for PFOA, PFOS, PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid), PFHxS (Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid) and PFHpA (Perfluoroheptanoic acid) combined.

Based on the current ORSG, MassDEP has recommended that:

  1. consumers in sensitive subgroups (pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants) not consume water when the level of the five PFAS substances, individually or in  combination, is above 70 ppt;  and,
  2. public water suppliers take steps expeditiously to lower levels of the five PFAS, individually or in combination, to below 70 ppt for all consumers.

The Ayer DPW – Water Division has taken the following actions:

  • The water supply well with the highest PFAS levels (Grove Pond Well No. 8) was removed from service in February 2018. We are in the process of installing a temporary carbon filter on this well to remove the PFAS.
  • The treated water combined for the other wells at the entrance points to the distribution system (Grove Pond WTP and Spectacle Pond WTP) are sampled quarterly and are below MassDEP’ s current ORSG.
  • We have completed the design of a state of the art treatment facility at Grove Pond to remove PFAS from the water. This will be begin construction this summer and completed next spring.
  • We are designing a second state of the art treatment facility for the Spectacle Pond Wellfield.
  • While actions are being implemented to lower the PFAS concentration in our water, Ayer is testing a Point of Use filter that can attach to the kitchen faucet. If the filter can demonstrate that it effectively removes PFAS to below the MassDEP ORSG, the DPW will provide filters, upon request, to the sensitive subgroups.
  • We are working with the Army Corp of Engineers to investigate the source of the PFAS.

For more information on what our system is doing about this situation, please visit the Town web site or contact Mark Wetzel,  DPW Superintendent at Phone # 978-772-8240, email address: [email protected] Ayer DPW, 25 Brook Street, Ayer, MA 01432.