STEEP private well testing on Cape Cod

Trainee Emily Kaye explaining instructions to participant

In Fall 2021, the STEEP Community Engagement Core collected well water samples from over 65 private well owners on Cape Cod. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of having study team members travel to participant homes, the CEC team distributed well water sample kits and instructions at central locations throughout the Cape so that well owners could collect their own samples. CEC distributed kits and held drop-off events at the public libraries in Eastham, Harwich, and Mashpee, as well as at Cape Cod Community College. These efforts were supported by a STEEP trainee and by volunteers from community partner Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition. Water samples will be tested for PFAS and trace metals by Research Projects 1 and 4, and will also be tested for nitrate, which is a marker of septic system impact. Combined with the study’s first round of sampling in 2018, the results from these samples will shed new light on the levels and distribution of PFAS chemicals in private wells on Cape Cod and on possible sources of PFAS groundwater contamination.