Excerpt: Word that two of Hyannis' public drinking water wells had been closed because of possible contamination sent ripples of concern throughout the village, both because of health concerns and because the news hit a mere month before the busiest season in terms of water usage.
Regardless of the outcome, the incident highlights the precarious position of all of the Cape's water supplies, and should be treated as a warning of our possible future.
Last week’s shutdown occurred after the discovery of perfluorinated compounds, also known as PFCs, and prompted the Barnstable Town Council to declare an emergency and authorize spending $744,000 on carbon treatment equipment. The EPA has termed PFCs “contaminants of emerging concern.” High levels of PFCs have been connected to cancer and hormone disruption. Officials say that the PFC levels in the wells are higher than those recommended by a federal health advisory, but also that adverse health effects are usually the result of a lifetime of exposure.