WESTMINSTER, MASS. (WHDH) - Hundreds of people in Westminster are concerned about their drinking water, because high levels of harmful chemicals are showing up in their well water.

Jeremy Roche has been worried ever since toxic chemicals were discovered in his tap water.

“It’s been a lot of unknowns,” Roche said. “I have not had a glass of water since, from the tap. I just haven’t.”

Roche is not alone. The well water in his Westminster neighborhood is tainted with dangerous levels of harmful PFAS chemicals.

PFAS is used in everyday items like microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, fast food wrappers. and nonstick cookware, to make them resistant to grease.

We know that PFAS chemicals are extremely persistent,” said Laurel Schaider, senior scientist at Silent Spring Institute.

The chemicals were first detected back in 2022, when one of Roche’s neighbors tested the water and found shocking levels of PFAS.

“Exposure to PFAS has been linked to effects on every part of our body,” Schaider said.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection then stepped in and started testing more wells. One home was found with PFAS levels 90 times higher than what is considered safe.

“At that point, it was like wow this is like a serious thing,” Roche said. “My two children, my wife, my pets — we’ve been consuming that water for as long as we’ve lived here.”

How did this happen? The state says the contamination came from Mass Natural, a nearby composting farm.

Officials believe that PFAS in the farm’s compost material has been leaking into the groundwater. A test of the farm’s well water yielded the highest PFAS levels ever for a well in state history.

We didn’t do anything wrong. We haven’t violated any of our permits. We’re not up here making PFAS,” said Bill Page Jr., president of Mass Natural.

Page runs the 244-acre family farm. Mass Natural recycles organic waste to make topsoil. The state collected more than 150 samples from Mass Natural’s property. Many of them came back positive for PFAS.

Prior to this discovery, Page had no idea anything was wrong.

“Everything we are taking has a permit from the DEP. If the state’s telling you it’s ok to take it, why would I question you? We did all the testing that was required. PFAS was never an issue. Had it been, we would’ve tested for it, but we were never required to test for it,” Page said.

The state shut down the farm after determining the site “poses a threat to public health and the environment.” Mass Natural and some of the companies that dumped waste on the property had to install water filters in all affected homes, and pay for bottled water.

Roche said if he could turn back time, he never would have moved into the neighborhood.

“My biggest fear, one of your kids gets sick,” he said. “There is that possibility of that affecting your life and having to deal with whatever it might be.”

Right now, work is being done to connect 12 of the affected homes to the city water supply within the next month. There are also talks about connecting even more homes in the future.

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