Friday, October 8, 1999
Water quality issues continue to be in BOH spotlight
The quality of water, particularly in the center of town, remains of concern as the cleanup of two sites continues. Mike Holland, chair of the water quality subcommittee submitted a report to the board of health on September 28.
ENSR, an environmental engineering firm hired by the town, will begin installation of groundwater monitoring wells next month. These wells will measure groundwater elevation to provide a better picture of groundwater flow in the center of town. The town-funded effort will provide useful data for current projects and future planning.
The water quality committee took advantage of the public comment period to formulate a response to the proposed plan for cleanup of the center gas station site owned by the Daisy family. Holland indicated concern about the proposal to use vapor extraction for remediation of the contaminated soil and wondered whether soil removal might be preferable. He also indicated that using the area behind the police station as the point of discharge for the treated water was questionable because that area is already under remediation. The state department of environmental protection (DEP) holds the authority to review the plan, consider public comments, and then approve or modify the plan.
The June 1999 tests of wells in the center showed levels of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) consistent with the results which had been obtained previously. There were no significant changes in the levels when the center gas station tanks were removed.
John Lee of Lowell Street said that it had been two-and-a-half years since his water had been tested for MTBE and he would like to get his well tested again. Opolski explained that repeat tests were done only on wells which had previously indicated significant levels of MTBE; not all wells were retested, even though some had signs of contamination.
The cost of MTBE tests are $80 per well and require some coordination. Center residents John and Annette Lee volunteered to do the coordination for homeowners interested in getting their wells tested for MTBE.
Chris Mariano of ENSR reported the Immediate Response Action Plan for the department of public works site off Lowell Street had been approved by the DEP. The release abatement plan is in place and they will be monitoring the site over the next 18 months.
While monitoring town center wells is a top priority, board of health chair Steve Opolski pointed out that the study of the O'Rourke Farm for a potential water supply is also very important. The town could forfeit the opportunity to identify well sites if the study is not completed within the required time frame.
Several members of the audience expressed interest in the work being done on the Conant Land and its possible impact on water quality. Opolski responded that town officials need to inform the board of health about the studies conducted on that site.
Water quality committee member Tony Mariano, Sr. felt that with some small amount of funding he could complete a report on the geological makeup of the Conant Land. Mariano said that he has walked the Conant Land with a gamma ray spectrometer and found that background radiation there is double the normal background levels. With a more sophisticated instrument such as a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Mariano could determine the source of the anomalous radioactivity. Mariano would need the SEM for just a few hours.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito