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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: University of Rhode Island: Community Engagement Core

Superfund Research Program

Community Engagement Core

Project Leader: Alyson McCann
Co-Investigators: Laurel Schaider (Silent Spring Institute), Emily Diamond
Grant Number: P42ES027706
Funding Period: 2017-2022
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Progress Reports

Year:   2020  2019  2018  2017 

The sand and gravel aquifer of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is the sole source of drinking water for residents and is vulnerable to contamination from septic systems, runoff, landfills, and other pollution sources. PFAS have been found in public and private drinking water wells, in some cases above health guidelines. STEEP’s Community Engagement Core is addressing community concerns about water quality and identifying potential sources by conducting a private well testing program and partnering with local organizations to engage with diverse audiences. In prior project years, the Core tested water samples from 101 private wells in 12 towns on Cape Cod and provided individualized context-rich reports to participants and community-level summaries through community events. In Year 4, the Core conducted a series of interviews and focus groups with participants in the private wells study to learn how they reacted to receiving their well water results, actions taken since receiving their reports, and attitudes on water quality and well water testing. The CEC team is planning 1-2 publications summarizing these findings, and another study on the first round of the private well testing results. In collaboration with STEEP’s Research Translation Core , the CEC is launching a series of webinars, “Let’s Talk About PFAS,” to engage residents and local officials on Cape Cod and beyond on topics including PFAS in drinking water, health effects, and non-essential uses in consumer products. The CEC is working with STEEP’s Training Core to develop PFAS-centered lessons for high school classes and identify opportunities to connect trainees with high school classes on Cape Cod.

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