Board of Health September 7 shorts

by Karina Coombs

Public comment on irrigation

Unaware of the homeowner irrigation worksheet available from the Board of Health (BOH), resident Ginny Lamere attended the September 7 BOH meeting armed with detailed calculations of her own and presented them during a public comment period. The result? Lamere’s calculations showed the board’s guidelines to be, “pretty reasonable” in her opinion.

Prior to its September decision to issue a short-term ban on outdoor water use at its August 10 meeting, the BOH voted unanimously to establish a policy that would set water usage limits for residential irrigation systems at 15% of the estimated recharge of a given parcel. The policy would be for new Carlisle residents and owners of modified sprinkler systems (see “BOH adopts policy on irrigation systems,” August 24.)

Lamere explained that she waters her lawn (one acre of grass out of a three-acre property) every three to five days when it does not rain, mindful of water restrictions in neighboring towns. “I have only watered my yard about 15 times since May,” she said. “That’s being pretty judicious,” said Chair Lee Storrs. “We’ve had some wells run dry this summer,” added BOH member Todd Thorsen, who had brought the policy idea to the board and was appreciative of Lamere’s feedback.

Lamere also mentioned the weather station at the Carlisle Public School and told the group that it could provide some information that could help their efforts and was available online at: 

Gleason nitrate levels remain high

Health Agent Linda Fantasia explained that the nitrate levels in the water at Gleason Library continued to go up according to a recent report from a certified well operator, showing a level of 8.5 on August 2. The US Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contamination level is ten milligrams/liter (mg/L), with results greater than three mg/L indicating contamination. Fantasia said that she had discussed the report with Library Director Christine Schonhart and told the board that the library’s water coolers should remain off.

BOH member Cathy Galligan asked what would happen if the level does not stabilize. Fantasia said that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) would be the agency looking into this and she would contact them to discuss it and get feedback. The board asked Fantasia how close residential wells were to the area and she explained that the wells had been mapped by the BOH and a notice went out to residents in the immediate area recommending well testing. She was unsure if anyone had pursued this.

The next BOH meeting is scheduled for September 21 when the group plans to outline its annual goals. ∆