Westminster PFAS Data and Resources

BACKGROUND

In February 2022, private drinking water wells along Bean Porridge Hill Road were found to contain certain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) under M.G.L. c. 21E and 310 CMR 40.0000 (a/k/a the Massachusetts Contingency Plan or MCP). PFAS concentrations in the private wells exceed Imminent Hazard Levels as described in the MCP.

Subsequent additional sampling revealed PFAS impacts in additional private wells along Bean Porridge Hill Road, including at 65 Bean Porridge Hill Road where Massachusetts Natural Fertilizer Company, Inc. (Mass Natural) operates a composting facility pursuant to a “Final Approval Recycling, Composting or Conversion (RCC) Operation BWP SW46,” Authorization Number SW46B/47B-0000053 (RCC Permit) most recently issued by MassDEP on October 6, 2020. Mass Natural leases the 65 Bean Porridge Hill Road property from Otter Farm, Inc. (Otter Farm).

MassDEP has identified Mass Natural, as operator of the composting facility, and Otter Farm, as owner of the property, as Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the private well contamination under the MCP based upon MassDEP’s belief that the PFAS contamination is migrating in groundwater from the 65 Bean Porridge Hill Road property to the impacted private wells. On March 31, 2022, MassDEP issued Notice of Responsibility (NOR) letters to Mass Natural and Otter Farm.

PROACTIVE STEPS BEING TAKEN

Upon receipt of the NOR letters, Mass Natural and Otter Farm have been working cooperatively to test additional private wells, provide bottled water, and install Point of Entry Treatment (POET) systems for private well owners with PFAS-contaminated wells as part of an Immediate Response Action Plan (IRA Plan) under the MCP. Mass Natural and Otter Farm also continue to investigate the full extent of private well contamination allegedly emanating from the 65 Bean Porridge Hill Road property, as well as whether other potential sources of PFAS contamination may be present in the study area. As required by the MCP, Mass Natural has hired Larry Lessard of Lessard Environmental, Inc. (LEI) as the Licensed Site Professional (LSP) of record, while Otter Farm has retained Jeffrey Arps of Tighe & Bond as its LSP to assist with those efforts.

The PFAS study area has continued to expand as additional private wells are sampled. The most current map of the study area can be found under the Maps tab.

ONGOING COMMUNICATION

Mass Natural, Otter Farm and their respective LSPs have been communicating information to the area residents through telephone calls, emails, periodic Zoom meetings and a Dropbox account established by LEI. A Neighborhood Residents Group related to this situation has been organized by Deborah Hooper, who can be reached at (978) 502-8975 or hooperd26@gmail.com.

This website was developed to provide Westminster residents with a one-stop repository for current information regarding the PFAS situation as well as links to other sources of information regarding PFAS including knowledgeable representatives of MassDEP and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The website continues to be populated with important information related to this issue and will be updated as the project progresses. We welcome any suggestions for additions/improvements to this website, which can be submitted through the Frequently Asked Questions tab.

COMMITTED TO A RAPID AND EFFECTIVE RESOLUTION

Mass Natural and Otter Farm appreciate the community’s cooperation and support as our investigation and testing continues. We are sampling a large number of residential wells, and the laboratory takes 1-2 weeks to analyze the samples. We also are attempting to stay ahead of supply shortages impacting the POET system equipment by ordering as many systems as are available. Please know that Mass Natural and Otter Farm are committed to sampling the affected homes and installing treatment systems as soon as possible in the impacted area.

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An interactive project map can be found here as well as downloadable versions. All Maps are provided in Adobe PDF format.

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Resources

A list of PFAS resources can be found here.

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