Water report on agenda for North Attleboro town councilors | Local News

NORTH ATTLEBORO — Town council members are due to get an update on chemicals found in the public water supply in recent testing.

Monday’s council meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. in town hall, will include an update from the Department of Public Works on the chemicals, known as polyfluoroalkyls, or PFAS, for which the state Department of Environmental Protection established maximum levels in October 2020.

In a notice to the public last month, the water department said testing for the second quarter of the year confirmed “elevated levels of PFAS6 above the 20 ng/L (nanograms per liter) in the McKeon Water Treatment Facility, one of its drinking water sources, during routine PFAS6 monitoring. We are actively working on corrective actions, including investigating water treatment and other options to reduce PFAS6 levels” at the site.

The notice said there was no immediate health threat, but some vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems, should avoid drinking town tap water.

PFAS are man-made chemicals found in certain firefighting foams and as components in some kinds of pesticides, such as mosquito sprays. They are also used in waterproofing some types of fabrics and even in some kinds of makeup. Testing by an environmental watchdog group has indicated they are found in many water sources nationwide.

North Attleboro has been earmarked for $200,000 for planning and design costs, among 17 public water supply systems sharing in $3 million in state grants to address elevated levels of chemicals, officials announced in March.

Councilors will also be asked to confirm the appointment of a new town planner, the third the town has hired since November.

Gil Hilario had been serving as town planner in Marion since 2017, according to published reports. He is a North Attleboro native.

He holds a master’s degree in city planning from Boston University and a bachelor’s in public administration from the University of Rhode Island.

He has also worked in the planning offices of East Providence and the National Park Service.

Two other candidates for the planning post withdrew their names after receiving other offers.

Councilors will also take some time to plan for the future.

Council President Justin Pare says that, “After ‘normal business’ we’ll be having a strategy session using a white board,” to review and modify council priorities and goals for the coming year.

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