Results of Local Water Testing in Northwest Greenwich |
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), initiated a survey to determine if polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) migrated into the ground water supply servicing public and private wells in the northwest section of Greenwich. PFAS, which are a class of man-made chemicals, were detected in several public well water supplies in a nearby area within New York State. As a result, the DPH, DEEP and EPA initiated precautionary sampling of drinking water at seven (7) public drinking water systems and eight (8) private wells in Greenwich during the month of February, 2018. All drinking water samples were analyzed for six PFAS.
PFAS are used in variety of products and applications including, but not limited to, clothing, food packaging and firefighting foam used to extinguish petroleum fires. These chemicals are not found naturally and remain in the environment for long periods when introduced. Several PFAS, Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) which are the most studied, and also Perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS), Perfluoronoanoic Acid (PFNA) and Perfluoroheptanoic Acid (PFHpA) are of special concern, as they are persistent in the human body and exert a variety of toxic effects. Nearly everyone has low levels of
these chemicals in their blood. These background levels likely come from being exposed to consumer products and they can remain in the body years after exposure has stopped because of their slow removal. The main health concerns regarding these PFAS are effects on the liver, immune system and fetal development, as has consistently been shown in animal studies.
Owners of public and private well water supplies have been apprised of their drinking water testing results from the first round of sampling. The testing results from the public well water systems did not exceed Connecticut’s Drinking Water Action Level; however, DPH has resampled the sources for three of the public water systems to confirm the findings. Two of the eight private well water supplies did exceed the State’s Drinking Water Action Level and homeowners have been advised not to drink their water.
Confirmation well water sampling is underway, with testing results expected in several weeks. An informational session on the overall well water testing project will be arranged in the near future for residents with private wells and community well water suppliers who have been impacted by PFAS being released into the environment. The Greenwich Department of Health will continue to work closely with the DPH and DEEP on this important matter and will be available to answer questions and assist residents as needed. Visit the State Department of Public Health Website at www.ct.gov/dph/publicdrinkingwater
for information pertaining to PFAS.
Michael S. Long
Division of Environmental Services
Tel.  987-1001