PFAS chemicals again exceed regulations at Middleboro well

Apr 12, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — For the second consecutive quarter, water from the East Grove Street well included the presence of PFAS chemicals above the required state limit, Middleboro Water Department officials announced Friday, April 12.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, 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.

Anything above 20 nanograms per liter is considered a PFAS violation in the state of Massachusetts. For the first quarter of 2024, the numbers at the East Grove Street well were: January, 23.04; February, 25.03; and March, 20.18. 

That brings the quarterly average to 23.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, a monthly average of 21 nanograms per liter of PFAS6 was detected in the East Grove Street Well, according to the notification.

Steps are underway to solve the problem, Water Superintendent Michael Bumpus said.

Since the fourth quarter 2023 violations, East Grove well output has been reduced to about 0.1% of the total water pumped into the distribution system during the first quarter of 2024.

This “very limited use,’’ Bumpus said, allows for Department of Environmental Protection mandated testing and availability in case of emergencies such as fires.

Voters at the April 22 Town Meeting will be asked to approve borrowing $33 million to construct a new Middleboro East Grove Street Water Treatment Plant. The new plant will treat PFAS, manganese and iron. 

The slightly higher than allowed levels do not constitute an “emergency,’’ according to information provided by the Water Department, but some residents may be impacted.

Consumers in a sensitive subgroup, such as 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 PFAS is above 20 nanograms per liter, according to material provided by the Water Department.

For more information about PFAS and suggested safety measures, visit