High PFAS levels prompt new water filtration systems at 3 schools

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Maine (WABI) - Three area schools are getting new water filtration systems after testing revealed high PFAS levels last spring.

MDI and Deer Isle Stonington High Schools, along with Brooklin Middle School, all tested at some of the highest levels in the state.

They’re now working overtime to get the problem fixed.

MDI High School Principal Matt Haney isn’t sure why high levels of PFAS were found in the school’s water but says the school is working on a solution.

“We are working doing some testing of our grounds and different areas around to try and determine where it came from and if there is any chance for cutting it off at the source. In the meantime, we’re working on putting in the filters that will keep it out on all the water that we use in our school,” said Haney.

Both MDI and RSU 76 received grants from the state for new filtration systems.

MDI hopes to have theirs installed by the end of the week, and RSU 76 by early this fall. Until then, both will use bottled water to help keep students hydrated.

“Some of the infrastructure was already there with COVID, and they had already not been using the drinking fountains anyway. It’s a pretty big imposition for our kitchen staff because they need healthy water to do the dishes and prepare food,” said Dan Ross, RSU 76 superintendent.

School officials say despite all that goes into getting ready to welcome back students for another school year, making sure there is clean water is the number one priority.

“From the parent perspective, I want some peace of mind. If my daughter were here, I’d want to know that the drinking water was fine, and that’s the standard I hold myself to,” said Ross.

“School is supposed to be a safe place. One piece to that is we need to have healthy water for our students to drink, to wash their hands with, our cafeteria staff to cook with. So, it’s really important that we’re able to get this in hand before the students start next week,” said Haney.