Read the full article by Abby Patkin (MetroWest Daily News)

“Backyard ice skaters, rejoice: Natick has lifted its ban on non-essential outdoor water use.

Last Friday’s announcement came more than six months after the town began relying on the Elm Bank Water Treatment Plant after finding a high level of PFAS chemicals in another source of its drinking water. 

Relying on Elm Bank — which typically has seasonal limits on usage — as a primary source allowed the town to keep up its water supply while working to minimize the chemicals, but necessitated the emergency ban.

What are PFAS?

PFAS are a group of chemicals found in a variety of products, including electronics, fabrics and even firefighting foam, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. High levels of exposure to certain PFAS may negatively impact health, according to the EPA.  

Since the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) put the town on notice earlier this year, Natick has undertaken corrective actions to reduce the concentration of PFAS in its water supply, Director of Public Works Jeremy Marsette told the Select Board last week. 

‘That plan has been a success thus far, in that throughout the year, for almost a year now, we have not been issued another notice of noncompliance,’ Marsette said. 

MassDEP allows a maximum of 20 parts-per-trillion of PFAS and measures compliance quarterly, he explained. 

There is no federal standard, but Marsette said the EPA is likely to issue one next year.”…