As Bay Staters, we love the water. It is a staple of our communities, in health, recreation, and overall well-being. Over the last decade, there have been threats to our accessibility to clean drinking water that could irreversibly damage the health of our communities and future generations. I will address the two big challenges that have emerged as threats to that safety and accessibility of our water.
1. Fund projects for failing infrastructure, such as replacing outdated water pipes that are negatively affecting water quality in our communities.
Having clean drinking water is the most basic service that needs to be carried out for residents of the community. Often water quality issues are being caused by extremely outdated infrastructure. Easing state regulation on water usage by towns in order to rectify water quality issues is a great place to start. Expanding access to some state funds through loans or grants in order for municipalities to create long term solutions to failing infrastructure will be crucial to the health of all residents.
2. Address the emerging threat of PFAS chemicals. PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are an emerging health threat that is affecting the quality and accessibility of water currently in the district. The exact health implications of the chemicals are being studied but it includes a wide range of negative impact.
The current interagency task force organized by the legislature is undertaking the current battle against PFAS in a fact-finding approach. Municipalities are stuck to fend for themselves in both solutions and costs. Duxbury has already had to shut off one well due to contamination overtaking the threshold set by the state, and is doing so with no financial assistance to rectify the problem. PFAS can be removed from water with special filters but they are very costly and places an extreme burden on towns just trying to get by with their regular annual expenses. The state needs to intervene with a clear set of guidance and financial grant program to assist in this extremely important matter.