Sanford Water District Responds Rapidly to PFAS Exceedance
To: For Immediate Release
From: David Parent, Superintendent
Date: September 27, 2023
RE: Sanford Water District responds quickly to PFAS exceedance at Cobb 2 well
The Sanford Water District has discontinued the use of one of its six wells after recent test samples exceeded the interim Maine State Drinking water standard for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
“The excessive rain we’ve had over the summer appears to possibly have affected some of our ground water, increasing the exposure level to these contaminants,” said David Parent, superintendent of the water district. “This is why we test our water sources regularly—to be sure we are providing safe drinking water and to take corrective action when needed.” Parent explained that the district had tested all the sources in 2022 with satisfactory results.
In 2021, the Maine Legislature passed legislation regulating six PFAS compounds. Test results of the six compounds combine into one total PFAS number, which cannot be over 20 parts per trillion or nanograms per liter (ng/L). On September 21, 2023, the Sanford Water District received PFAS results on samples from three of its active water supply sources. (The district’s three other active sources had no detection of PFAS when tested last fall.) Samples from two of the tested sources remain within the allowable limit, though levels were higher than in 2022. The Cobb 2 source exceeded the maximum PFAS level by 4.7 ng/L. The Sanford Water District immediately shut down Cobb 2 pumping operations. This source will remain offline while the district evaluates next steps. In the meantime, the district’s five other active sources of supply will provide water to the system.
Although PFAS is prevalent in the environment, PFAS does not naturally occur in the environment. They are synthetic substances that many industries have been manufacturing and using since the 1940s. Thousands of PFAS compounds are utilized in countless consumer products, such as nonstick cookware, clothing, fast food packaging, carpeting, personal care and cosmetic products, and firefighting foams. According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, “PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe.”
The Sanford Water District is committed to providing safe drinking water and will continue to follow PFAS regulations as they develop. “I always remind people that most water district employees—including myself—also live here in Sanford,” Parent said. “Our families, friends, and neighbors are all relying on us to keep Sanford water safe.”
The district proactively took the Cobb 2 well offline immediately, several days before receiving guidance from the Maine Drinking Water Program. The water district expects to begin reviewing new treatment options to reinstate the now-offline source. The district’s primary goal remains the welfare and peace of mind of community members.
People interested in learning more about PFAS and how to reduce their potential exposure can read more at the EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-explained.
Please call the district office at (207) 324-2312 with any questions on the Sanford Water District’s PFAS sampling.