Kyla Bennett is fed up with the pollution flowing into her house through its water pipes. “I can’t drink my water. I’m not supposed to shower in my water. And we’ve been waiting now 2 years for this filtration plant to come on line. It’s costing us, the taxpayers, $9 million,” says Bennett, director of science policy at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an advocacy group.
Bennett lives in North Easton, Massachusetts, a small town just south of Boston. In 2019, she investigated drinking water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from the use of firefighting foam on Fort Devens, a former military base northwest of Boston. She then tested her own water.
“I thought our water would be clean,” she says, noting that the town has no industry or firefighting training facilities. She also tested water from Sudbury, a town west of Boston next to a firefighter training site. “To my surprise, my water was more contaminated than Sudbury’s water,” she says.