Burrillville officials distribute bottled water to residents affected by PFAS contamination

BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) – Officials in Burrillville are passing out free bottled water at the town’s police department after warning residents in one neighborhood not to drink water until further notice.

At a meeting Tuesday night, town officials said the Oakland Association water system has elevated levels of PFAS, a man-made chemical that causes health risks.

The Oakland Association, which serves approximately 175 people, said the Rhode Island Department of Health found three samples of the water containing 88, 69 and 114 parts per trillion of the chemical.

Until the source of the elevated levels of PFAS in the water is identified, officials are asking affected residents to take precautions to avoid adverse health effects.

The Oakland Association said to not boil water since it concentrates the chemical. Officials instead are telling customers to use bottled water or other licensed drinking water instead.

This bottled water or water from a different source should be used for drinking, food preparation, cooking, brushing teeth and any activity that might result in swallowing water. Health officials say you can still use the water to shower and wash dishes.

Risk factors for adverse health effects are highest for those who are pregnant. PFAs can also affect the learning, growth and development of children, as well as increase cholesterol and cancer risk, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).