CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The federal government has come up with a plan to eliminate PFAS, commonly known as “forever chemicals,” from drinking water. The chemicals affect millions of people every year, including here in western Massachusetts, but the plan could cost you some money.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that between 70 and 94 million people in the United States are affected by PFAS-contaminated drinking water every year. The agency has proposed new regulations to try to bring that number down.

The list of chemicals classified as PFAS includes thousands of potentially harmful chemicals that don’t easily break down. This new proposal would bring acceptable limits for a handful of those chemicals down to the lowest detectable traces.

If it goes through, one study estimates that it would cost water utilities $3.8 billion nationwide, and those costs are expected to trickle down to ratepayers. PFAS cleanup costs have already contributed to increased water utility rates in many areas across Massachusetts and other states.