Plan To Decontaminate Westfield, Mass., Water Could Pass In June

May 25, 2018

A plan to decontaminate water in Westfield, Massachusetts, stands a good chance of passing after a city councilor said he'll change his vote.

Three wells in Westfield are contaminated by chemical compounds -- PFOA and PFOS -- which are used in firefighting foam at the Barnes Air National Guard Base.

The city council has spent months debating whether to approve a $13-million bond to help fix the problem.

City Councilor Dave Flaherty has voted no in the past but said he'll now support the plan to pay for a filtration system.

"Earlier in the year, there weren't any alternatives presented," he said. "Some councilors brought up connections to Holyoke or building new wells, and we wanted to make we explored those to make sure that they weren't viable options. And the filtration seems to be the best option. It does work. It's the lowest cost. It's proven to work all over the country, so I think that's the path we should take going forward."

Flaherty said he expects a final vote will happen in June. He hopes Westfield can recover the money from three manufacturers of the foam and the federal government, all of which the city is suing.