Western Mass News has learned exclusively that Westfield city officials met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren's office Monday morning to discuss municipal water.
Residents met with the senator's staff too as they all look for a solution.
With three of four wells shut off on the north side of Westfield, residents continue to seek answers about possible water contamination.
Just a week after city officials met to answer city council's questions, they met Monday morning with Senator Warren's office to discuss the ongoing water debate.
This, just a month after the city council voted down a $13 million bond request for the water department that included both temporary and permanent filtration systems for the city's contaminated wells.
Mayor Brian Sullivan told Western Mass News:
"This morning, city hall, State Senator, and State Rep. offices met with Senator Warren's office, including the state policy regional director. Senator Warren has been a force behind gathering info and making sure Westfield is in the right position to take advantage of what we can do to receive assistance."
Sullivan told Western Mass News that there's been an open line of communication with the state throughout this entire process and today's meetings add to that.
In the afternoon on Monday, residents like Kristen Mello, a co-founder of the organization WRAFT (Westfield Residents Advocating For Themselves), got to meet with Senator Warren's staff, too.
Mello told Western Mass News that she and her neighbors have many questions about the water contamination and the allocation of money.
"Ever since last week, my phone has been blowing up, my Facebook messages, from residents in town that are experiencing medical conditions they are concerned are related to the water contamination," Mello noted.
In the spring of 2016, the water department sent letters to residents telling them shut off two wells on the north side of the city because of high levels of contaminants called PFCS, which are found in a wide number of consumer products.
Then, last month, the city of Westfield filed a lawsuit against three manufacturers, tracing the water contamination back to firefighting foam used at Barnes Air National Guard Base back in the 1980s.
"They're not getting any federal pressure. Our federal officials are Rep. Neal, Sen. Warren and Sen. Markey, so what we need is for them to bring that pressure and that's what this meeting will hopefully help us do today," Mello noted.
Sen. Warren's Office confirmed with Western Mass News on Wednesday that staff meetings were held.
A spokesperson for the public works department told Western Mass News that city officials will meet again Tuesday to discuss that $13 million bond at 5:30 p.m. in city council chambers.
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