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Canton Superintendent Says Cherry Brook School Cleared Of Chemical Contamination

Nicole Leonard
Canton town officials said Cherry Brook Primary School was bringing in about one tank of clean water a day to support the school's water system as two private wells were tested for PFAS chemicals.

The town of Canton said water at Cherry Brook Primary School is safe to drink after a recent scare over chemical contamination.

Schools Superintendent Kevin Case said this week that testing indicates two wells that feed the school are not contaminated with a family of chemicals called per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

In 2014, firefighters from the Canton Volunteer Fire Department released about 1,300 gallons of firefighting foam containing PFAS on school grounds during a training exercise. The use of the foam only recently became known.

Emerging evidence shows that some of the chemicals found in the foam are toxic to humans and the environment. 

In October, town officials notified the Farmington Valley Health District about the 2014 training and release of PFAS chemicals. 

Case said the two wells at Cherry Brook Elementary School were shut off and water was brought in from a state-approved bulk water provider.

Water samples were taken from both wells and sent to two labs for PFAS testing, Case said.

In a Tuesday letter to parents, Case said, “We are very pleased to report that the analysis revealed that PFAS chemicals were not detected in any of the samples.”

“As a result, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has indicated that the water is safe to drink and no further testing is required,” Case wrote. “The town will be working with the water operator to get the water system back online shortly. As a precaution, the town will test the school’s drinking water for PFAS on a frequency to be determined by [the] Department of Public Health’s guidelines.”

Case said the school has also hired an environmental consulting firm to assist with investigating the potential environmental impacts from the past use of firefighting foam at the school, a process that will include testing of nearby soil and private wells.

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