Fryeburg’s community water supply has no detectable forever chemicals now, after a treatment system removed the toxic substances in time for the Fryeburg Fair.
Fryeburg Water Co. announced Friday it has completed installation of ion-exchange treatment technology to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, from “well 2” of the Fryeburg water system.
After testing and an inspection from the state’s drinking water program, the well is now online. It will be used in time for the start of the annual Fryeburg Fair on Sunday, “a significant consumer of water and an important contributor to the local economy,” Fryeburg Water said in a statement.
The engineering firm Wright-Pierce designed the treatment system, and ECT2, which stands for Emerging Compounds Treatment Technologies, provided the technology for removing the contaminants from the water.
The public water system serves more than 800 connections. It is owned by Fryeburg Water Co., which contracts with Maine Water Co. to manage operations and maintain infrastructure.
“Our vendors were very attentive, and got right to work,” said Mike Cummons, Maine Water’s director of service delivery. “They understood the concerns of customers and community leaders, and worked as quickly as possible. The treatment system is effective and operable in time for the fair.”
Maine Water, which owns and runs water systems in many communities across Maine, has been testing them for PFAS this year as required under a new state law signed by Gov. Janet Mills.
ECT2 is designing and installing what are arguably the three largest and most sophisticated PFAS treatment systems in the world.
In one Fryeburg well serving the community, no PFAS were detected. But in well 2, they were discovered at about 33 parts per trillion in June. The state’s interim standard limits PFAS in drinking water to 20 parts per trillion. It’s not known how PFAS got into the well.
In Fryeburg, the water company immediately shut down well 2 and began exploring its options, working with the state’s drinking water regulator for project funding and treatment approval, Cummons said.