On May 20, the Baker-Polito administration announced a new funding opportunity to support public water systems in addressing elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

The grant program, managed by the Department of Environmental Protection, will provide up to $2 million for expenses related to the design and planning of treatment systems that protect drinking water against PFAS.

PFAS are a family of chemicals widely used since the 1950s to manufacture common consumer products and some fire-fighting foams. Drinking water may become contaminated if PFAS deposited onto the soil seeps into groundwater or surface water.

PFAS have been linked to a variety of health risks, particularly in women who are pregnant or nursing, and in infants. Last December, the MassDEP proposed a protective standard for PFAS in drinking water and finalized cleanup standards for soil and groundwater.

“Working closely with communities facing PFAS is essential to our efforts to eliminate these contaminants,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, “and these grants will help cities and towns develop the necessary treatment systems to protect drinking water.”

The administration secured $28.4 million in two recent supplemental budgets for water infrastructure and PFAS testing, with $20 million appropriated to the Commonwealth’s Clean Water Trust, providing financing that can be used by communities to address contamination issues, and $6.4 million supporting a statewide sampling program for public water supplies and private wells. Statewide testing of drinking water for PFAS will provide the data to support the MassDEP’s strategy for treatment and mitigation.

The new grant program, funded by $2 million from the supplemental budget, will provide assistance to water suppliers for the necessary planning, studies, pump tests, engineering, and design necessary to remove PFAS contamination from water systems. Reimbursement for previously completed eligible work will also be included in the grant opportunity.

A maximum grant of $200,000 per applicant will be available. Details about this grant opportunity, including how to apply, can be found at https://www.commbuys.com/bso.