EAST KINGSTON — Some homeowners are being told to drink bottled water after tests found groundwater contamination from a septage processing facility on North Road.
The warning was issued as representatives from the state Department of Environmental Services prepare to hold an informational meeting with residents Thursday night to address concerns about the recent test results that showed four private wells exceeded the state’s groundwater quality standard for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The cause of the contamination is still being investigated, but, according to state officials, the contamination originated at Biological Recycling Company LLC, located at 79 North Road.
DES sent company owner Daniel Bodwell a letter of deficiency on April 22 following the water testing that found one private well on North Road and three on Sanborn Road had elevated levels of PFAS chemicals.
The state standard for combined perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is 70 parts per trillion, but tests of drinking water wells near the septage facility found levels at 174.8, 156, 132.6 and 83.5.
Seven of the 10 groundwater monitoring wells at or around the facility also exceeded standards.
Jim Martin, public information officer for DES, said wastewater is a source for PFAS chemicals because they’re found in different products that are washed into drains and end up in septic systems.
“Biological Recycling Company is a septage receiving facility. They receive septage and process it on site,” he said, adding that the facility has a lagoon.
Martin said the facility has a groundwater management permit and must test for PFAS chemicals.
In response to the elevated levels, homeowners were notified and are being advised to use bottled water and not to use their well water for drinking and cooking.
DES has asked Biological Recycling Company to take corrective actions, which include ceasing all operations and septage/solids management at the facility and providing bottled water to affected homes.
Bodwell could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
“The state has been phenomenal. They have answered every question we’ve asked. The property owner has also done everything in his power to be open and transparent,” said Richard Poelaert, chairman of the town’s board of selectmen.
An informational meeting with state and local officials will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at East Kingston Elementary School.