Topics: Drinking Water

CHATHAM – It took just 19 minutes for voters to approve $5.9 million in water system improvements at Sunday's special town meeting. The upgrades will complete construction of two new wells and begin the process of treating two other wells recently shut down due to PFAS contamination. Officials say the expenditures are necessary to ensure that the system can meet peak water demand. The measures passed unanim...

Select Board Clarifies Outdoor Watering Ban

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — On Sept. 14, responding quickly to news that a second town well had been taken offline because of contamination, select board members ordered a ban on all outdoor watering. Last week, they got a bit more specific. “We’ve had a couple of questions come up,” Town Manager Jill Goldsmith told the board. While the original order was intended to bring an end to the watering of lawns, some questioned whethe...

Second Well Deactivated Because Of PFAS

By: Alan Pollock

New Urgency For Water Conservation CHATHAM — A special round of water tests this week revealed that a second public water supply well in Chatham now has levels of PFAS above state standards and has been shut down. Well 8 is adjacent to Well 5, off Training Field Road, which was shut down in April when levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances rose above the state standard of 20 parts per trillion.  On F...

Drought Worsens, Despite Ida

By: Alan Pollock

In what seems to be a case of climatological bad luck, one corner of Cape Cod is still experiencing a drought, despite the recent rains from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Chatham and Harwich are still way behind in seasonal rainfall, while other parts of the state – and even the Cape – have recently experienced heavy rains and flooding. Following a dry spring and summer that prompted towns to impose restricti...

Town To Seek Source Of PFAS Contamination

By: Alan Pollock

Select Board Lays Groundwork For Potential $10M Water Investment CHATHAM — Responding to the shutdown of a public water supply well contaminated by “forever chemicals,” the select board Tuesday threw its support behind an effort to identify the specific source of that pollution. Whether or not the search for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) proves fruitful, the board is also fast-tracking a multi-...

Latest PFAS Numbers Down, Source Remains Unknown

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — The latest round of water tests show a decline in the concentration of PFAS contaminants in a public supply well off Training Field Road, but officials aren’t celebrating yet. “There’s more questions in these numbers than answers, unfortunately,” Chatham Health and Natural Resources Director Robert Duncanson said Tuesday. In April, town officials shut down a well off Training Field Road after PF...

CHATHAM — With public water supplies already taxed by the drought, town officials recently had to disconnect one of the town’s wells after higher-than-acceptable levels were detected of dangerous contaminants known collectively as PFAS. Officials are now scrambling to bring other wells online and to take other steps to meet this summer’s expected water demand while devising a long-term plan to address the con...

CHATHAM — As they do most years, in March, town officials asked residents to conserve water ahead of the busy summer season. Last week, their polite request became a mandate. Effective immediately, the select board has implemented a set of mandatory water restrictions that require outdoor watering to take place on odd or even calendar days, based on a property’s street number, with watering limited to an inc...

ORLEANS — Like information, water wants to be free. And, like information, it isn’t. Your water bill pays for the infrastructure that pumps the liquid out of the town’s wells, treats it to ensure quality, and sends it out to homes and businesses. It flows into a house’s or store’s own pipes, where it’s controlled by the turn of a faucet – or is it? Things happen. Pipes leak or break, toilets keep running,...

Water Dept. Looks At Former Pet Cemetery Land

By: William F. Galvin

Contamination May Force Current Site To Be Abandoned HARWICH — The water department is concerned about pollution to the well fields at its Chatham Road site and is considering moving its operation to the land on Queen Anne Road where a pet cemetery was previously proposed. Selectmen asked the real estate and open space committee a couple of weeks ago to assess the future of the parcel, the jurisdiction of w...

Bylaw Calls Into Question Cranberry Fest Fireworks Location

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town bylaw approved in 2009 establishing a buffer zone around drinking water wells where discharging fireworks is prohibited could spell trouble for the Harwich Cranberry Festival fireworks. For the past two years, the festival fireworks were ignited from Whitehouse Field, which is within the 1,500-foot buffer zone. “It’s news to me,” Fire Chief Norman Clarke said of the prohibition. “You’ve t...

CHATHAM — The town is formulating an increase in the water rates, the first since 2005, as a means of paying for some long-awaited improvements to the water system. But the way the increase is structured has a second goal: to encourage better water conservation among the town’s biggest users. On Monday, selectmen heard a report from Doug Gardner of Pioneer Consulting Group, who presented a new rate structure...

HARWICH — The water department staff had to deal with another water main break along Route 28 last week near the intersection of Brooks Road. Water Department Superintendent Dan Pelletier said there have been four major breaks along that stretch of roadway in the past five years. Pelletier said the break that occurred after 4 p.m. last Thursday released about 150,000 gallons of water. The 10-inch pipe was inst...

CHATHAM – South Chatham residents will be happy to learn that they'll soon no longer have to worry about stains from high iron levels in water pumped from a town well in their neighborhood. In September, water from well number seven will begin flowing through the town's new water treatment plant, a $10 million facility designed to remove high levels of iron and manganese from drinking water. Currently, the pla...

CHATHAM — Residents who use town water to keep their lawns green will soon be giving up more green to do so. Selectmen, acting as water and sewer commissioners, voted Monday to adopt new controls on irrigation systems connected to the town water system, outlawing new connections in 2021 and requiring already-connected systems to be placed on separate water meters. Town officials say the demand that irriga...

CHATHAM — It’s been a wet winter and spring, with Chatham receiving almost three and a half inches more precipitation than average since the start of the year. Still, starting on June 15, the town will once again impose voluntary restrictions on water use, even as it considers tightening rules on residential irrigation systems. Town officials say the need for conservation isn’t about a lack of rainfall, but ...