Hopedale signs legal agreement regarding PFASJan 04, 2022 09:31AM ● By Chuck Tashjian
By Theresa Knapp
The Town of Hopedale has entered into a legal services agreement with a series of firms to identify the source of any PFAS that might be in the town’s water.
The stated purpose of the agreement is for “investigating and assessing potential claims arising out of the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) containment in water supply wells affecting the Town’s water systems” and to represent the town in any legal action it might pursue related to PFAS.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.”
“The big takeaway is there is no cost to the town,” said Selectman Louis Arcudi III. “They are doing this basically as part of a suit. They take on all the expenses as far as fighting the lawsuit…If they were to prevail, they would get 32.75 percent [of any monetary judgment]; if there’s no settlement, we don’t owe them anything, they don’t owe us anything.”
Select Board Chairman Brian Keyes said this is similar to the mass tort action the town joined against the opioid industry.
Arcudi noted the suit seeks to identify the manufacturer of any material that triggered the PFAS, not necessarily the physical origin within the town.
Ed Burt, Chairman of the Water & Sewer Commissioners, said his board supports entering the agreement, adding the firms do not require any additional testing for the lawsuit.
Burt said once the source is identified, “it could become our choice to pursue where that source actually came from in the town.”
For more information on PFAS, visit www.epa.gov
“Your water is safe”
Tim Watson, manager of Hopedale’s Water Department, addressed the issue of PFAS at the Select Board’s meeting on Nov. 11. He had a message for the public:
“I just wanted to let you know and assure the residents that your water is safe. The well that has the high concentrations of PFAS has been shut off, and requested to be deactivated to save us a few dollars, and that your finished water that’s going out to the system at this time, and in the very foreseeable future, is safe to drink…There is no worry about PFAS contamination; we are well, well, well below the limits that are required.”