SOUTHWICK — After nearly two years of testing for polyfluoroalkyl substances in Southwick’s well water, both of the city’s public water supply wells have found trace amounts of the “perpetual chemicals,” well within state safety limits.
Southwick’s local emergency planning committee held a discussion on Thursday morning about PFAS chemicals, their effects on human health and the spread of their contamination. Locally, much of the focus on PFAS contaminations has been in neighboring Westfield, where it was found that an aqueous film used as fire extinguishing foam (AFFF) at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport had contaminated groundwater. And thus the water supply—with PFAS and related chemicals—wells serving the city’s North Side.
“The problem with PFAS is that it is extremely difficult to break down in the environment and our bodies,” said Southwick Emergency Management Director Charles Dunlap. “Even low levels of PFAS can be harmful to our health.”