The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 19, 2006


Center water issues resurface

Members of the Board of Health (BOH) agreed Tuesday night that the town will organize the testing of 12 wells in Carlisle center for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and other gasoline contaminants. Of these, six are "monitoring" wells, installed by DEP in 2003 after the state conducted a clean-up at the Daisy gas station property, where a leaking underground gas tank was removed and water contamination was discovered in the surrounding area. The DEP required the Daisy family to maintain the monitoring wells but, citing financial inability, the Daisys told the state that they were unable to do so. The other six wells belong to specified abutters.

According to BOH agent Linda Fantasia, the BOH has been in contact with the Daisys on several occasions since 2003, asking them to cover the cost of monitoring and maintaining the wells, but they again said that they did not have the funds.

Now that three years have passed, the BOH has decided that they need new data, an opinion echoed by Tony Mariano of the BOH Water Quality Subcommittee, who said, "A lot can happen in three years." He described the complex routes that ground water can take in a bedrock aquifer, causing the water (and contaminants) to flow far from the original location. Mariano picked six wells on the site to be sampled along with six abutter's wells.

The board recently had a discussion with Larry Bearfield about his proposed expansion of Fern's Market, which makes the well testing even more timely. The plan might include an addition connecting the market to the former gas station. The board wants updated data on the contamination before any future work begins.

"We need a baseline first," noted BOH chair Martha Bedrosian. "They could be digging in contaminated soil. Will this mess up the wells? We don't want construction to exacerbate an existing problem — we don't want to open Pandora's box here."

For more information on the gasoline additive MBTE, see: "MTBE: town problem recognized on national level"by Seba Gaines, in the March 31, 2000 Mosquito, available in the archive on-line.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito