Westfield City Council rejects $13M bond for water filtration system again

Hampden County

For the second time, the Westfield City Council has rejected a $13 million bond to pay for a water filtration system.

Chemicals from firefighting foam previously used at Barnes Air National Guard Base has contaminated Westfield’s water supply.

The city has struggled to agree on how to clean the water. Three wells have been taken offline.

Some residents don’t like the type of filtration system the city proposed, and the bond failed for a second time Thursday night. It’s unclear what happens now.

“If this doesn’t pass tonight, I have no idea what the next step is,” said Ralph Figy of the Westfield City Council. “The opponents, the people that oppose it will have to come up with it, and so far I have not heard any alternatives to this.”

Among the suggestions, tapping into Holyoke’s water system.

The city has already moved forward to install temporary filters on wells one and two. But fear and frustration are growing.

“If I’m boiling water, I’m using bottled water, but it gets expensive, everything that you use it for,” said Carin Impionbato, a Westfield resident. “And then the person who’s causing this, or the company that’s causing all this, and they’re not paying a consequence.”

Westfield has sued the manufacturers of the discontinued firefighting foam, but any possible payouts could be years away.

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