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PFAS and Well Water Testing on Nantucket


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Gina O'Callaghan
pfas nantucket

PFAS and Water Testing on Nantucket

You may have heard the widely used term PFAS, and we are here to dive into their importance as related to homeowners on Nantucket. PFAS is an acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These substances are a group of man-made chemicals that are used in a variety of consumer products and industries throughout the world. They are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals.”

pfas nantucket well water testing

PFAS have been found to leech into surface soils, groundwater and surface water, thereby contaminating drinking water. Exposure to PFAS has been linked to a variety of health risks. Notably, these risks are elevated for those who are immune-compromised, women who are pregnant or nursing, and infants. Due to there being no federal drinking water standards for any PFAS, Massachusetts and twenty-one other states have established standards for some of these chemicals.

How does this pertain to homeowners on Nantucket?

The Nantucket Board of Health adopted new Private Well Regulations on 9/21/23. Effective 1/1/24, Chapter 386 (VIII) (4) “Water Quality Testing Requirements” requires private well testing for specific substances (including PFAS) prior to the sale of a property. 

Please reach out to your trusted Fisher agent with any questions or concerns and read on below.

Homeowners must use a MassDEP/EPA-certified laboratory. To facilitate this testing requirement, the Nantucket Board of Health (BOH) has partnered with the water quality sampling program that is administered by the Barnstable County Lab.

Two (2) tests are required for all private wells that use water for human consumption, prior to transfer of ownership.

If electing to use the Barnstable County Lab, individual homeowners, real estate agents, property caretakers, and others may pick up water quality testing kits at the Board of Health office at 131 Pleasant Street. The 2 testing kits* include:

1- Real Estate Testing Analysis (VOC) – $140

2- PFAS Testing Analysis – $265

*All testing kits include a separate shipping fee of $10 for each kit, payable when kits are dropped at BOH.

Payment: Individual checks for sampling analysis must be made out to Barnstable County and included when samples are submitted to the BOH for processing. A separate fee of $10 per kit must be paid when the kits are dropped at the BOH.

*Please note that there is a minimum 15-day turnaround for results.

At this time, Jan 5, 2024, a Routine Well Analysis is not required, but available for $55/test.

Also, the required testing for the purpose of resale of a property is only applicable to wells used for domestic water consumption.  Water wells for the purpose of irrigation/non-domestic consumption are not required to be tested at this time.

Should you wish to have your well tested without the aid of the Town of Nantucket and Barnstable County Labs, you can also reach out to Envirotech Laboratories, Inc. in Sandwich, MA at 508-888-6460 and they will send you a PFAS testing kit in a handy little cooler for safe handling.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is also conducting free PFAS testing, in limited scope and in limited areas on the island. 

PFAS and Water Testing Nantucket

Please check back here often for updated information on the Town of Nantucket’s requirements for PFAS and well water testing. This information is accurate as of January 5, 2024, and is subject to change.

Written By

Gina O'Callaghan

Gina has been working full time in residential and commercial real estate since 2004 and found a natural fit having worked in the Nantucket construction industry for many years by merging the two careers.