Nearly six months after PFAS was found in Maysville’s well water supply, officials are still trying to determine the cause of the contamination and identify a long-term solution to provide safe water to residents. Aqueous film forming foam, which was used in firefighting applications, is most likely the source of contamination.
On July 30th, engineers began collecting soil and water samples from the town’s well and digging four test wells near the site.
"The work is completed, they just have everything back at their labs and doing what they need to do to help us determine where it's coming from,” said Schumata Brown, Maysville’s Town Manager.
The town paid $58,000 for the project. Brown hopes Maysville will get reimbursed once the state’s budget is approved.
“The legislature mandated this through the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory so they actually moved some money around to help Maysville. But with the Governor’s veto budget, we haven’t been able to get our hands on that money.”
In June, test results showed PFAS and PFOA contamination in Maysville's well water above the EPA’s lifetime Health Advisory Levels. The town immediately switched their roughly 450 customers to Jones County water, which is free of PFAS contaminants.
"We're paying them a monthly fee to have their water. So that's also a big strain that we could be using that money to fix this problem,” said Brown.
The town is considering several permanent solutions to provide water for residents, including drilling another well, installing a carbon filtration system, or staying on Jones County water.
“To stay on their water, we would have to come up with a better decision for us price-wise,” Brown said. “I think filtration is the long-term solution.”
Brown estimated a filtration system for the town of Maysville could cost up to $1 million to install. Maysville applied for a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a filtration system but was denied.
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are unregulated compounds that persist in the environment and the human body. The EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory for PFAS is 70 parts per trillion. Samples collected May 7 and analyzed by the NC Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Testing Network found a combination of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoate sulfonic acid (PFOS) were detected at a level of 103 parts per trillion.