Hampden County (MA) near Barnes Air National Guard Base

Background

As early as the 1980s, the Barnes Air National Guard Base (the Base) used aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS for its firefighting training. These compounds later moved off-site in groundwater, likely affecting both municipal and private drinking water wells located downgradient of the Base.

In 2013, when PFAS was first detected, the Westfield Water Department and the Massachusetts Department Environmental Protection (MassDEP) took actions to ensure the quality of the drinking water in Westfield. These actions over the next several years included removing three drinking water supply wells from service and placing temporary water restrictions on all non-essential water use. Presently, the Westfield Department of Public Works (DPW) – Water Division’s primary sources of drinking water are from surface water and groundwater sources meeting federal and state PFAS guidelines. The Westfield DPW-Water Division installed a temporary treatment system.  This system ensures that PFAS levels in the treated water are below detection limits. The Westfield DPW-Water Division is in the process of installing permanent treatment on its four affected wells. The Westfield DPW-Water Division continues to test its water sources and pursue system improvements to address PFAS contamination. Nearby private wells were sampled and, if needed, filtration systems were installed.

 

 

Participating in an exposure assessment will help you and your community better understand the extent of environmental exposures to PFAS. A random selection of households impacted by PFAS in their drinking water will be identified. If your household is selected to participate, you will receive a letter in the mail from CDC/ATSDR explaining the exposure assessment and registration process. You will also get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions and register you and other members of your household interested in participating. Household members are eligible if they are 3 years of age or older, do not have a bleeding disorder and are not anemic, and have lived in the recruitment area since January 20, 2015. Inclusion of children in the exposure assessment is dependent on parent or legal guardian consent.

Sampling Area
Hampden county sampling frame
Schedule

CDC and ATSDR will begin an exposure assessment in Westfield in summer 2019. Recruitment of participants will take approximately six weeks. After that, ATSDR will be in Westfield for two weeks to test participants. Individual results will be mailed to participants. This could take several months. CDC laboratories will perform the exposure assessment analysis according to very specific guidelines established by CDC/ATSDR

Information session

CDC/ATSDR is holding an information session to answer questions from the community, listen to concerns, and promote transparently and understanding. Everyone is invited to attend.

When
July 23, 2019
5:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Presentation will start at 6:00 p.m.

Where
Westfield Intermediate School
350 Southampton Rd
Westfield, MA 01085

For More Information 
For information on work being done in Westfield, MA contact Captain Tarah Somers RN, MSN/MPH, Regional Representative, 617-918-1493

Page last reviewed: July 10, 2019