Adamsdale Well resumes service after four-year period

North Attleborough Town Hall

The Adamsdale Well will return to service after being taken offline for four years.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) announced on Aug. 1 that the town received approval from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to bring the well and its new Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) filtration system back online.

The well’s reopening will also bring fluoride back into drinking water from the west end of town where it is located. DPW Director Mark Hallowell said that once the work on the final repairs is accomplished, he estimates the well will resume operations next week

“There are still some outstanding things we need to take care of,” Hallowell said. “We don’t have an extra generator yet and a control monitor to see what goes on down there. They were supposed to come during January, but supply chain issues delayed the delivery.”

According to Hallowell, the project design, engineering and construction cost $5 million.

Despite the setbacks, some were thrilled to hear the news of resuming operations.

Town Councilor Dan Donovan thanked Hallowell and the DPW staff for their work and said his constituents need not worry about potential risks when drinking water.

“Residents can be confident that the town’s drinking water supply is safe,” Donovan said. “This was an enormous undertaking by the DPW, and they deserve a huge round of applause for its successful completion.”

Council President Justin Pare also applauded the reopening of the well, but said work still needs to be done to reopen the McKeon Treatment Plant, which is still closed.

In the fall of 2023, the town applied for a $5 million federal grant to fund construction of a water filtration site at the facility.

Pare said the design of the project is being drafted, but the funding has not been acquired as of now.

“Adamsdale is a big win and will make a very positive impact on the town’s water,” Pare said. “But like many other communities, we still have some work to do.”

North’s well closure

The well was shut down in December 2020 after the DPW found the water inside had a PFAS level of more than 20 nanograms per liter. The chemicals in PFAS are artificial and used to manufacture certain fire-fighting foams, moisture, stain-resistant products and other industrial processes.

Those who drink water containing large amounts of PFAS may experience adverse effects on their livers, cholesterol, thyroid, and immune system. It may also lead to an increase in the risk of some cancers.

As of October 2020, the DEP set the standard levels for PFAS in drinking water at 20 nanograms per liter to set a guideline for towns to improve their water quality.

Adamsdale Well and the McKeon Treatment Plant were tested by DPW officials and both were found with water containing PFAS levels over the standard set by the DEP.

The Adamsdale Well is located at the end of Grandview drive and sits near a junkyard with old cars—many which have caught fire. Over time, chemicals from fire-fighting foams used to extinguish the vehicles were absorbed into the ground.

“Over years and years, those chemicals got into the ground and the water,” Hallowell said. “The water that comes from the Adamsdale Well goes to a lot of people, particularly on the west side of town.”

In 2021, the DPW began the designs of a new well and a filtration system, which was awarded to the Fall River-based Biszko Building System. Construction lasted two years due to supply chain backups delaying the necessary parts.

In 2022, a water kiosk was installed at the North Attleborough Town Hall to provide PFAS-free water for residents while they waited for the well to reopen.