PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) Information

Plainville Public Works Shield

Water Quality Hotline: (888) 987-7589 or (508) 576-8379     Water Quality Email: WaterQuality@plainville.ma.us 


The Plainville Water Department is providing this PUBLIC NOTICE because our water system is considered a consecutive System to the North Attleborough Water System which 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. Visit https://www.nattleboro.com/water-division to review the Town of North Attleborough's Water System Public Notice.

The Plainville Water System has confirmed elevated levels of PFAS6 above the 20 ng/L MCL in the Interconnections with North Attleborough at the Everett St. and Kelley Blvd. Water Pumping Stations.

Plainville Water System PFAS6 Results
LocationSample Collection DatePFAS6 Result (ng/L)PFAS6 MCL (ng/L
Plainville Turnpike Lake WTF7/19/20217.0820
Plainville - Kelly Boulevard Pump Station - Interconnection7/19/202123.820
Plainville - Everett Street Pump Station - Interconnection7/19/202121.320

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.

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 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 https://www.mass.gov/doc/list-of-bottlers-may-6-2021.

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, the 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 at https://www.mass.gov/doc/list-of-bottlers-may-6-2021.
  • 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 Plainville Water System has taken the following measures to assess and lower the PFAS concentration in the drinking water:

  • We provided Public Education about PFAS in our 2020 Water Quality Report: https://www.plainville.ma.us/sites/g/files/vyhlif4871/f/pages/2020_water_quality_report_-_plainville-revisedmt.pdf
  • 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.
  • North Attleborough has shut down the McKeon WTF and is investigating long-term water treatment options for the McKeon WTF and is currently considering the installation of 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 more information, please review the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's Fact Sheet on PFAS in Drinking water by clicking the link below:

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's Fact Sheet on PFAS in Drinking Water

For questions or concerns, please contact us:

Water Quality Hotline: (888) 987-7589 or (508) 576-8379     Water Quality Email: WaterQuality@plainville.ma.us 

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