Lead, PFAS found at high school; drinking water safe 

BAR HARBOR — In what Mount Desert Island High School Principal Matt Haney called “routine testing,” elevated levels of lead and PFAS – also known as forever chemicals – were discovered in the school’s water. 

We were very quickly able to identify and rectify the problem with the lead,” Haney told the Islander.  

“We have retested the PFAS and have a plan to introduce carbon filtering directly at the well pump to mitigate the problem if the retesting confirms the original result.” 

He emphasized that the water that comes through the school’s drinking fountains is already filtered and safe to drink. 

“The introduction of carbon filtering closer to the source would mitigate water that comes through the bathroom faucets and toilet fixtures as well as hoses and other water that is not consumed,” Haney said. 

“The carbon filtering system will be fairly expensive to install, and we are optimistic that there are grants at the state level that would help us offset the costs.” 

PFAS are a class of several thousand highly toxic synthetic chemicals that are used in many different types of consumer products, from pizza boxes to sunscreen to waterproof clothing, to nonstick cookware to smart phones.  

PFAS are called forever chemicals because, according to the organization Environmental Working Group, “They build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment. Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases.” 


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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