Wellesley’s interim system for getting rid of harmful chemicals called PFAS6 from water treated by its Morses Pond treatment plant has done the trick, and the plant is due to be back online this Saturday, June 18. The factory has been closed since May. 2021 after forever high levels of these chemicals were detected in the city’s drinking water from four groundwater wells.
The town meeting approved $1.5 million to install the mitigation system, and the city was able to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to cover the cost of the system, which is expected to operate for approximately 16 month. While taxpayers get off easy, purchasing water without Per- and PolyFluoroAlkyl Substances (PFAS) but more expensive from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) will cause water bills to rise sharply.
And just because the plant is back online and PFAS6 is now at a non-detection level doesn’t mean residents and businesses can run their sprinklers 24 hours a day. de Morses Pond will only be operating at about 40% capacity, so outdoor watering restrictions are in place again likely through the summer.
The Department of Public Works will seek to recommend a long-term solution to the PFAS problem at an upcoming special or annual municipal meeting. It originally looked like the city could implement a permanent system over $5 million, but reconsidered in light of other possible options, including working with the MWRA on a way to get more out of it. of water. PFAS mitigation is a moving target as the state and federal government consider broader testing.
Efforts are also underway to determine the source of PFAS in Wellesley water.