WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Westfield Water Department received a national award for their PFAS emergency response.

Last summer, firefighting foam from Barnes Air National Guard Base contaminated Westfield wells. PFAS is a chemical formerly used in military firefighting foam and has been linked to birth defects and cancer.

Once the contamination was discovered, the city teamed up with local engineering companies, CDM Smith and Tighe and Bond to come up with a plan on how to quickly and efficiently solve the problem.

They designed both temporary and permanent water treatment facilities to clean the contaminated water. The Westfield DPW was recognized by Water and Waste Digest with an award for a top project.

Assistant Director of Public Works Francis Cain spoke to 22News about the recognition of accomplishments.

“Anytime you are recognized for your accomplishments that’s a good thing, but I think as far as this city is concerned it just validates that you have people in place, you have a department and resources in place to take care of what needs to be taken care of,” said Cain.

Water and Waste Digest is a national publication. Westfield’s plan to clean up the water is now being modeled by a number of other cities across the country.

Westfield Water Department said the city’s water is contaminant free and safe to drink.