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Braintree

‘Forever chemicals’ removed from Braintree’s water

A new filtration system at the municipal water treatment plant has successfully removed so-called “forever chemicals” from Braintree’s water supply, according to the mayor.

The chemicals — specifically known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS – are man-made chemicals that persist in the environment and human body, and can cause adverse health effects, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The agency has said that studies show the chemicals can cause reproductive, developmental, liver, kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals, as well as tumors and increased cholesterol levels.

In January 2020, tests showed that the PFAS levels in Braintree’s drinking water were at 21 parts per trillion — above the state-mandated level of 20 parts per trillion, according to a statement from Mayor Charles Kokoros.

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The Braintree Water and Sewer Department installed one filter to try to remove the chemicals, and, after seeing improvement, installed four more filters. As of March 16, 2021, the filtered water level of PFAS had fallen to zero, the statement said.

“I am pleased that not only were we able to reduce PFAS to acceptable state levels but completely eliminate this harmful chemical from our drinking water,” Kokoros said. “Water quality will always be a top priority for my administration.”

He said the filters and water would be tested monthly to ensure that the filters continue to work.

The project to remove the old filtration system and install a new one cost $299,000 and was funded by the town, according to mayoral assistant Stephen Leary.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.