Regional Delegate Assembly receives update on local water laboratory
BARSTABLE – At a recent meeting of the Cape Cod Regional Government Assembly of Delegates, the assembly was joined by Sean O’Brien, Director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment (BCDHE ) to discuss updates on the County Water Quality Laboratory.
The BCDHE laboratory is certified to test drinking water, swimming beaches, groundwater and wastewater in order to protect the public from exposure to environmental and anthropogenic contaminants.
O’Brien reported that the lab remained open for most of the COVID pandemic, noting its status as an essential service.
O’Brien discussed the need for updated equipment to test for bacterial contaminants and industrial contaminants such as PFAS on Cape Cod.
A main objective is the acquisition of a new liquid chromatography dual mass spectrophotometer (or LCMS) capable of detecting small amounts of polyfluorinated compounds. The laboratory has been using an older and less sophisticated model for several years.
Several delegates expressed their support for the acquisition of the new device.
“What could be more efficient, to have a person standing in front of the instrument to inject a sample, or to have an autosampler that can process fifty samples?” O’Brien said. “And these are the things that we look at.”
The assembly also discussed the creation of a database to allow easy access to information such as beach closures due to bacterial contamination.
“Our goal, quite frankly, is to try to make testing accessible to everyone. We want to make sure that we are providing very good support to our local water utilities, ”said O’Brien.