Air Force offers water treatment settlement

Westfield Mayor Brian P. Sullivan (WNG file photo)

WESTFIELD – A Special City Council meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. in Room 207, City Council Chambers in City Hall.
The sole item on the agenda, from Mayor Brian P. Sullivan, is a request for immediate consideration of an Intergovernmental Agreement between the city and the United States Department of the Air Force providing reimbursement of certain water treatment costs, pursuant to the Defense Appropriations Act.
“That’s some great news coming in,” Sullivan said. “We have an opportunity to enter into an agreement for a settlement of a portion of what we’ve done by putting together our systems for the PFAS problem.”
Sullivan said the city has been steadfast in first making sure the water was safe, and second in going through the process of lawsuits to recoup its expenses.
He said they have been successful with the water as the results of testing will show. Last week, Department of Public Works Director David Billips said that they have now tested 130 million gallons of water through the GAC filtration system on Well 2, with results showing non-detect for the PFAS compounds, apart from one sample that was found to have been contaminated in the testing laboratory.
“There’s no evidence that it’s not removing everything,” Billips said.
“Residents should feel comfortable that the tests we’re receiving prove the carbon filters are working,” Sullivan said, adding that now the hard work of the Law Department is starting to pay off.
“What we’re going to deal with this week is a portion of what we’re going after, but it’s a first step,” Sullivan said. He said the Law Department, working with the outside firms they hired are holding the Department of Defense accountable.
The city hired New York-based Kennedy & Madonna, and S.L. Environmental Law Group out of San Francisco, firms representing multiple other communities and districts dealing with PFAS pollution.
Sullivan also said that Westfield is not the only one entering into an agreement with the DOD, but also other cities and towns that are working through the same process.
Sullivan said that he is asking for immediate consideration of the IGA because he doesn’t want Westfield to miss out on the first round of settlements. “The clock is ticking. This is just the first part of a long process, but one that is working in the right direction,” he said.

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