Barnstable County Public Release, April 26, 2019
In 2017 Barnstable County in partnership with the Town of Barnstable entered into an agreement to work together to protect the Mary Dunn Wells putting the Citizens of Hyannis first. That partnership has continued in earnest and is continuing as we look towards alternatives regarding the Academy’s future.
It has been the position of the County since day one that we are in the business of protecting the Cape’s aquifer and insuring that the water our citizens drink is safe. We are confident that our joint effort is working to achieve that end and that success is evidenced by the data that indicates that PFOS/ PFOA is non- detect at the Mary Dunn Wells before entering the distribution line. We have been recently challenged by the desire to continue these massive and costly efforts to protect these wells while balancing the needs to train and protect our fire safety personnel.
The Fire Training Academy plays a huge role across Barnstable County training both recruits and veteran firefighters from all 15 Towns in a timely cost-effective way. Our new Director has employed extraordinary efforts and has instituted training regulations that mirror the strictest fire training and environmental procedures that enhance training and are environmentally sensitive. His efforts have earned him the respect of Fire Chiefs across the Cape and the ensuing training will save lives. Presently and through June 21 of 2019 we will be training recruits who will become Cape fire fighters this summer, and firefighters that already serve you.
None the less we also have the duty to recognize and listen to our citizens. The recent announcement of DEP’s draft regulations potentially lowering the regulatory standards for these complex per fluorinated chemicals has ignited a firestorm of uncertainty in the hearts of Hyannis residents. A good government is an empathetic government. Therefore, as we work with the Town, DEP and EPA to develop strategies for the regional clean up of these chemicals of emerging concern using emerging technologies, we will embrace the call from our citizens to suspend the use of water after this training session ends in mid-June until further notice.
“Mass DEP commends Barnstable County for its efforts to address PFAS contamination from historic activities, and for taking this additional action to ensure that ongoing activities at the Firefighting Academy do not further exacerbate these problems” stated Martin Suuberg Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “We will continue to work with the County and the Town of Barnstable to address the challenges posed by PFAS and to ensure that remaining contamination at the Academy is addressed in a timely manner that protects the public health and the environment.”
“The right thing to do for the people of the Town of Barnstable is the cessation of the application of water at the site as proposed and the swift clean up of the existing contamination. The actions announced today make the County part of the solution.” Andrew Gottlieb, Association to Preserve Cape Cod.
In the interim we will focus along with the Town on developing comprehensive diagnosis of this complex problem and work towards a cleanup solution with State and Federal regulators. We will likewise work with our partners in developing and ultimately deploying relocation strategies. We thank you for your patience.
Jack Yunits, Jr. – Barnstable County Administrator