Reporting Joe Shortsleeve
SHERBORN (CBS) – It is a danger they can’t see but is very real. Now homeowners are wondering if they can trust their water. The state is now trying to get some answers. The problem started with General Chemical, a plant in Framingham the I-Team has been looking into for years.
The plant has contaminated the groundwater, but now there is evidence to suggest that contamination has spread, perhaps into wells in neighboring Sherborn.
Agents from the state Department of Environmental Protection descended on a dozen homes in quiet Sherborn Thursday. Like every homeowner in Sherborn, Paula Levine gets her water from a backyard well. She has lived there 44 years.
“I am concerned,” says Levine. “I am concerned that perhaps there is something in the water that developed over a period of time.”
The DEP agents came to do extensive tests. At least 50 homes sit less than a mile from the General Chemical plant, a hazardous waste facility, which closed last month.
The company’s owners remain responsible for cleaning up contamination dating back decades.
Jack Miano was one of the DEP agents collecting samples Thursday.
“If we find something that is connected to the facility then we will communicate with the facility about resolving the problem,” says Miano.
Sherborn homeowners on five streets recently got a letter from the state DEP saying, “Groundwater contamination is known to extend east from the property for about a quarter of a mile.”
Paula Levine says her home on Meadowbrook Road, “Is well within a quarter of mile from the facility.”
The state is testing for VOC’s, Volatile Organic Compounds, basically toxic cleaning solvents that they know were dumped into the ground and that they know contaminated the groundwater a short distance from here.
Rodene Lampkin was also one of the DEP agents collecting samples.
“We are specifically looking for chlorinated solvents,” says Lampkin, “solvents that are connected to the General Chemical plant.”
Melissa McStravick lives next door to Paula Levine and has four small children.
She says she would like her water tested as well.
“No one has contacted me or reached out to me,” says McStravick. “I would love to know more about it.”
The state will do some accelerated testing at the state DEP facility in Wilmington and they could have some preliminary results late next week. The DEP says right now they have no evidence to suggest water wells in Sherborn are contaminated, only that they know the contamination is moving in that direction and they want to be cautious.
The state says Thursday is only the first round of testing and there will be a second round regardless of the results from the first round.