Fluoride Action Network

Adamsdale Well being put back into operation in North Attleboro, complete with fluoridation

The Sun Chronicle | Aug 3, 2023 | By Stephen Peterson
Posted on August 3rd, 2023

NORTH ATTLEBORO — The Adamsdale Well, which serves the west side of town and has been out of commission for roughly 2 1/2 years, is going back in use, with fluoride being added to its water.

Town officials are calling it a “major milestone” for the local water supply system.

“We began pushing chemicals through the new system,” Public Works Director Mark Hollowell said.

However, a small leak was discovered in a line and is being addressed. “It looks like we may wait until Monday to let the repair have time,” Hollowell said, before the well is fully online.

The town has received approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection to resume operations of the well with a new PFAS removal treatment system.

PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” have been plaguing water supplies in the area and across the country.

Sample results from the well show that PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) are at non-detectable levels, local officials said.

In October 2020, the DEP set a new drinking water standard with a maximum contaminant level for PFAS that is lower than the current EPA advisory.

The water department took part in a pilot program through the DEP at the same time to test for PFAS in the drinking water system. The Adamsdale Well was found to exceed the new standard and was shut down in December 2020.

Shortly after that, the McKeon Treatment Plant, located off of Kelley Boulevard, exceeded the new regulation, but the town couldn’t shut those wells down without jeopardizing North Attleboro’s water supply requirements.

“Because we are supplying water above the new standard, DEP requires us and the Town of Plainville to update users quarterly and to provide the treated water kiosk to sensitive sub-groups,” Hollowell said.

The kiosk, which costs about $5,000 a month, will be located at the DPW headquarters on Whiting Street until all water sources meet DEP’s recommended contamination levels, Hollowell said.

The water department began design for the Adamsdale Well in February 2021 and went out to bid that following September. The contract was awarded to Biszko Building Systems of Fall River for about $3.5 million.

Along with other expenses, including engineering and construction inspection, the total cost of the project is about $5 million, Hollowell said.

“The project had a number of delays due to supply chain issues and we are still waiting on some of the smaller items, but the new treatment system has been approved for use by DEP and is ready to go online,” Hollowell said.

The Adamsdale Well is a key contributor to meet local water demands.

“We have adequate supply of water in the system, but the additional one million gallons per day that Adamsdale provides will allow the other wells to go off line more often, which is preferred to not over-exhaust the system,” Hollowell said.

Also, with the well back up, fluoridation of the drinking water from the west end of town is returning.

The town has always supplied fluoride except when it became unavailable from October to February from the Whiting Street facility, the DPW director said.

“The Whiting Street plant pushed fluoride into the system and blended with the other well water, so most of the system continued to have some level of fluoride with the exception of the far west and southwest ends of town,” Hollowell said. “With the reintroduction of fluoride at Adamsdale, that issue will be addressed.

“When the PFAS levels were detected, we were already in design for a new fluoride system at the well, so the new fluoride system was incorporated into this project.”

The Adamsdale Well is at the end of Grandview Drive in the southwest corner of town and near the Attleboro line.

“The town’s system is all interconnected, so while this well predominately serves the residents on the west side of town, it technically serves the entire town,” Hollowell said.

With the Adamsdale Well completed, the town is beginning construction at the McKeon plant, which is expected to cost about $7 million to construct.

“Once this is completed, expected to be online sometime in the fall of 2024, the town will be in compliance with the existing DEP regulations,” Hollowell said.

However, the EPA is working on new PFAS regulations which may lower the acceptable limit.

If that federal regulation is adopted, the town will have to upgrade the Whiting Street Treatment Facility and the Hillman Well, which both currently meet DEP’s regulation but wouldn’t meet the proposed EPA standard, Hollowell said.

“We will be adding a new fluoride system into the McKeon plant, and once completed, we will upgrade the Hillman Well to have a new fluoride injection system,” Hollowell said.

*Original full-text article online at: https://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/adamsdale-well-being-put-back-into-operation-in-north-attleboro-complete-with-fluoridation/article_a23070c7-0d85-5011-b3a0-9d1ada12bfbf.html