Dec 052013

I don’t see the point of spending more money to do more water quality testing. Groton has been studying these very same issues, spending taxpayer dollars, since the 1970s with results confirming that septics are impacting both the Lake and drinking water. We studied again in 1982, 1989, 1992, 2005 and in 2012 – all with the same conclusion-septic systems are polluting the Lake and impacting drinking water supplies-private wells. Previous studies warned of the potential to impact the public drinking water at Whitney Well.

Well, take heed, as that has now happened. We, the taxpayers of Groton, just spent another $80K to see if the 1989 water testing results were still valid and to confirm what the 2012 Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP) stated. The answer from another, independent consulting firm (CEI) was that the ’89 test was valid, CWMP results are solid. The new CEI tests showed two of the seven wells tested were high in nitrates. The Whitney Well showed small amounts of emerging contaminants (from human pharmaceuticals) introduced by human waste through septic systems. Septic waste is now confirmed to be reaching our private AND public drinking water. This testing by these experts AGAIN indicates that both private and public wells are at risk. This IS a public health issue.

I would like to see what this additional test is trying to achieve, that the scientist led tests didn’t. Are we waiting for a certain percentage of wells to become contaminated? I would like to see us act in a proactive manner, rather than reactive, and preserve and protect our major water resource-our drinking water. The MassDEP and Title 5 have standards that require septic and wells to have a 100 ft. separation in order to help protect wells from contamination. 37% of the lots in the Lost Lake area have less than half of the land that is needed to meet this requirement. At some point in time, these wells will most likely fail by septic waste intrusion, mainly nitrates and fecal coliform. What recourse do we have then? What about the Whitney Well that services a majority of Town? At what cost to us taxpayers will it be to “fix” our public water as septics continue to leach into our drinking water?

Our local Board of Health (BOH) working as an agent for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is very clear on what happens with failed wells. What happens if the town moves forward with these “confidential” testing results that show wells in failure (high in nitrates or fecal coliform), and the BOH fails to act, and the resident gets sick? Can the town be held liable because they knew the well was failing to meet drinking water standards?

At what point do we, the residents and taxpayers of Groton, say “Enough is enough!” and move to solve this issue that is now bigger than the Lake region with the impact to Whitney Well? Are we really ok with wastewater in our drinking water?

Carol Quinn
Documents referenced:

CEI water quality results:

CWMP (Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan):