Mar 042014

I have taken out papers to run for a three year term as a Groton Water Commissioner. Most of the voters in town are aware of my status as our one of our five selectmen. I am currently serving in my fourth term. I have verified with our Town Clerk that it is completely legal to hold both elected offices.

Our water rates are very high. Taxpayers and rate payers need some relief from escalating expenses. The FY15 proposed budget is just south of $1,000,000.00 for this department. The estimated fees for water charged to rate payers is $703,125.00. I think that there is a way to lower fees significantly. Years ago the Planning Board working in conjunction with the West Groton Water Dept. extended the infrastructure for an inter-municipal connection. This infrastructure has been bought and paid for on the West Groton side of town. The West Groton Water District has more water than they can use. The Groton Water Department has spent a tremendous about of money purchasing new land for future wells.

Let me make this clear, our Groton Water Department employees are doing a great job. Our water is delicious and the future needs are being looked after. I just feel that we should focus on using what we have rather than spending money in other areas.

Finally I also feel that aquifer and lake management is part of the responsibility of a Water Commission. The Commissioners must protect the water supply. Recently a proposal to treat Baddacook Pond met opposition from this board. It is okay to have concerns with chemical applications. It is not okay to fear monger and deny application of chemicals when both the state DEP and Federal EPA deem them to be safe. Baddacook Pond is now weed infested just like Lost Lake and Knopps Pond were. Last year the weeds were eradicated successfully from those lakes. Private well testing was performed throughout the application with no detectable limits above the baseline approved threshold. Even the water from those lakes which travelled over the dam met the criterion for safety.

Many other communities in Massachusetts have successfully applied Sonar for weed eradication. These communities also had public water supplies on the bodies of water treated. Natick and Littleton have both treated their lakes with their public wells on them.

Our current Commissioners have denied the application of Sonar based on faulty data. Not on the data supplied by the applicant but their own analysis which was flawed. If elected I will work with the other commissioners to analyze the correct information. I too want to protect the water supply and would never vote in any way to jeopardize this valued commodity.

Please support me with your vote on Election Day.

Thank you for your votes in the past for me as your selectman and hopefully for the upcoming one as your new Water Commissioner.

Josh Degen