David Reckhow

David Reckhow

AMHERST — A professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $1 million grant to test public water and private wells in the state for contaminated substances. 

A team led by Professor David Reckhow will analyze samples from as many as 1,600 public water systems and 3,500 private water wells. The samples will be tested for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to a news release from UMass Amherst. 

A small group from UMass Lowell will also assist in this statewide effort.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used in industrial applications since the 1940s. "The chemicals are found in a variety of products, they don’t break down and can easily accumulate in humans over time. There is scientific evidence that exposure to PFAS can have adverse health effects in humans," the release stated. 

The grant was awarded by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Massachusetts residents receive their drinking water from around 1,624 public water systems and from private wells, with more than 500,000 people served by private wells.