REGION – A new bill introduced in the state legislature by Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Dan Sena would establish and tighten regulations on private water wells in Massachusetts.
Locally, this effort comes as communities like Hudson have contended with notable water contamination issues in recent years.
“This is really a groundbreaking bill because in Massachusetts,” Eldridge, whose district includes Hudson and Marlborough, said in an interview with the Community Advocate last week. “Though we’re considered one of the strongest states on the environment, it’s quite shocking that private wells are not regulated.”
Bill would establish wells code
Eldridge and Sena’s bill would require the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue regulations to create a state private wells code. This code would provide standards for private wells used for human consumption, including requirements for testing for arsenic, E. coli, PFAS and uranium.
Though the town of Hudson primarily uses municipal water, this regulation of private wells could serve to benefit a broad group community members, Eldridge said.
“Water doesn’t abide by town or city boundaries,” he said. “If there is a water supply in Hudson that is contaminated in PFAS, that’s obviously water that goes to surrounding towns. The more we can test and omit toxic chemicals in private wells in smaller towns, the more likely that the water supply serving Hudson residents will be clean.”
PFAS impacted Hudson
Concerns over water quality have cropped up in Hudson in the past, especially in 2019 when rates of PFAS in town water spiked.
Concerned community members relied on bottled water and/or specialized filters while municipal officials worked on a solution to the contamination
The town implemented a number of mitigation measures and later reached a settlement agreement in Oct. 2020 with companies related to the contamination, including Boyd Coating Research Co., Inc., Precision Coating Co. Inc. and Dylan LLC.
Hudson has since been able to maintain PFAS levels below the state’s advisory threshold.
New bill joins other legislature efforts
Outside of Eldrdige and Sena’s legislation, State Rep. Kate Hogan has chaired the legislature’s joint task force on PFAS chemicals.
The task force is working to develop a report analyzing the efficacy and extent of state policy and laws surrounding these substances.
Hogan, who represents Hudson in the House of Representatives, told the Community Advocate last year that she expects the group to make recommendations and likely file legislation once it completes its report.
“It’s about trying to take a measured approach, but at the same time, with an abiding sense that this needs to be dealt with until we feel like our drinking water is safe from PFAS and that we’re dealing with it in all the other ways that it’s coming into our awareness,” she said of her work on the issue of water contamination.