Falmouth's Fresh Pond Well Tests Perchlorate at Elevated Levels

Test Exceeds Mass. Maximum Contaminant Level

The following public notice was issued by the Falmouth Water Department:

A routine quarterly sample collected on April 6, 2017 from the TOWN OF FALMOUTH’S FRESH POND WELL located off of Carriage Shop Road in East Falmouth detected a perchlorate concentration of 2.2 parts per billion (ppb).  The Massachusetts Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for perchlorate is 2.0 ppb.  The laboratory notified the Town of the results verbally on April 14, 2017 at which time a confirmatory sample was collected.

The Town of Falmouth was notified by the laboratory that the confirmation sample contained 2.94 ppb of perchlorate.  The average of these two samples is 2.57 ppb, which indicates that the well water is above the perchlorate MCL.  Water from the FRESH POND WELL has previously been tested quarterly for perchlorate.  Historically detected levels have been below the MCL.  The most recent test, on January 3, 2017 detected 1.6 ppb of perchlorate. 

Possible Health Effects

Perchlorate interferes with the normal function of the thyroid gland and thus has the potential to affect growth and development and could cause brain damage and other adverse effects, particularly in fetuses and infants.

If you are concerned about effects of exposure to perchlorate on your thyroid functions, you should contact your primary health care provider.

What happened? What is being done?

Perchlorate is an inorganic chemical widely used as an oxidizer in fireworks, blasting agents and in other industrial products.  It can also occur in hypochlorite solutions used to disinfect drinking water or to bleach clothing.  The results of previous samples collected from the well did not indicate perchlorate levels above the MCL.  We will be investigating the situation and will be evaluating next steps in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

There are six sources of drinking water in the Town of Falmouth.  Only the Fresh Pond Well is impacted. 

For more information and updates on the situation, please check the Department’s Web page or  contact Stephen Rafferty Water Superintendent, Town of Falmouth at 508-457-2543.

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