Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Grant Program to Address PFAS Contamination

For immediate release:
5/20/2020
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Grant Program to Address PFAS Contamination

Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs

boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a new funding opportunity to support public water systems in addressing elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. The new grant program, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), will provide up to $2 million in total grant funding for expenses related to the design and planning of treatment systems that protect drinking water against PFAS.

“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances present a significant risk to public health, and this grant funding will help cities and towns complete the important work necessary to protect the health and safety of residents across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is proud to build on our PFAS sampling efforts throughout the Commonwealth by providing this assistance to communities dealing with contamination.”

“Communities are hard at work to protect critical water resources, and this grant program will provide needed capital to support the design and planning of essential water treatment systems,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “As municipalities across the Commonwealth work to address PFAS, our administration is committed to supporting these efforts and ensure all drinking water throughout Massachusetts is safe, clean and healthy.”

PFAS chemicals are a family of chemicals widely used since the 1950s to manufacture common consumer products and used in some legacy fire-fighting foams. Drinking water may become contaminated if PFAS deposited onto the soil seeps into groundwater or surface water. PFAS have been linked to a variety of health risks, particularly in women who are pregnant or nursing, and in infants. In December, MassDEP proposed a protective standard for PFAS in drinking water and finalized cleanup standards for soil and groundwater.

"Providing this new funding opportunity helps to build on the aggressive action we are taking in Massachusetts to protect the public and the environment from the harmful impacts of PFAS,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Working closely with communities facing PFAS is essential to our efforts to eliminate these contaminants, and these grants will help cities and town develop the necessary treatment systems to protect drinking water."

“MassDEP is pleased to partner with public water suppliers to help develop treatment for PFAS so that clean, safe drinking water is available for all Massachusetts residents,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “As we continue to learn more about the impacts PFAS has on human health, it is important that we collaborate with communities on the front lines of this effort to protect our water resources.”

To help ensure the safety of drinking water around the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration secured $28.4 million in two recent supplemental budgets for water infrastructure and PFAS testing. Through the supplemental budget, $20 million was appropriated to the Commonwealth’s Clean Water Trust, providing financing that can be used by communities to address contamination issues. $6.4 million of the new funding will support a statewide sampling program for public water supplies and private wells. Conducting statewide testing of drinking water for PFAS will provide the data to support MassDEP’s strategy for treatment and mitigation of this emerging contaminant.

The grant program announced today will be funded by $2 million from the supplemental budget. These funds will provide assistance to water suppliers for the necessary planning, studies, pump tests, engineering, and design necessary to remove PFAS contamination from water systems. In order to aid communities that have already expended funds to address elevated levels of PFAS, reimbursement for previously completed eligible work will also be included in the grant opportunity.

“Thank you to our partners at MassDEP, EEA and the Baker-Polito Administration for their work on this grant program to address PFAS contamination,” said State Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden). “We must protect our citizens from the dangers of PFAS and protect our drinking water, and these funds are a great start.”

“Mitigating the effects of PFAS, a 'forever chemical' that has been detected in public water supplies throughout the Commonwealth will take a comprehensive state effort," said State Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow). “Our towns face difficult decisions and expensive remedies in efforts to detect and remove PFAS from their water supplies. The Baker-Polito Administration has been a strong partner in confronting this challenge to our local water supply. Grants like these will be important tools in our toolbox of solutions.”

“I am proud to see the amendment I filed in the supplemental budget in action with this grant opportunity,” said State Representative John Velis (D-Westfield). “To allow our cities and towns that took the initiative to address potentially contaminated water supplies and systems to not be punished for taking the lead is an important step in the fight against PFAS contamination. I am hopeful that cities such as Westfield, which were proactive in addressing this issue, are able to receive the reimbursement they deserve.”

A maximum grant of $200,000 per applicant will be available. Details about this grant opportunity, including how to apply, can be found here.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Grant Program to Address PFAS Contamination

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 

MassDEP ensures clean air, land and water. We oversee the safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes. We ensure the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills. And we work to preserve the state's wetlands and coastal resources.
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