Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett Have Dealt With Water Contamination in the Past
I'll admit it, before a couple of weeks ago, I didn't think much about town water. We'd turn on the water, got what we needed, and moved on with life. As I mentioned in a recent article, I mistakenly thought problems with drinking water only happened in places like Flint, Michigan or places overseas, but not here in New England.
Never in my life have I ever experienced a boil water order in my town. Upon further research, however, finding contaminants in the water supply is not as rare as one might think.
According to city-data.com, it's happened a number of times in Marion, Mattapoisett and Fairhaven over the past 15 years, with Fairhaven having the majority of the violations listed.
Before the incident back in late September, city-data.com lists July of 2010 as the last time a contaminant was found in Fairhaven water. That is when coliform bacteria was found during sampling; however, according to the EPA, that doesn't necessarily mean the bacteria is harmful. Similar results were found in water samples taken in September 2007, November 2006, and October 2005.
Aside from its most recent episode, it seems like Mattapoisett has only had one prior incident in the past 15 years or so. Back in June of 2013, a coliform bacteria presented in a sample, compliance was restored on August 30, 2013.
In the more recent Mattapoisett River Valley Water Department, which provides water for Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, and Rochester, there had been no violations reported prior to the one this month.
Past health violations for the Marion Water Division consisted of a coliform bacteria detection in September of 2011, and then again in September of 2013.
Perchlorate was found in samples over the summer of 2010. According to the EPA, perchlorate is "found as an impurity in hypochlorite solutions used for drinking water treatment and nitrate salts used to produce nitrate fertilizers, explosives, and other products."
Marion is also noted as having a monitoring violation in October of 2007, when the lead and copper rule was missed. The EPA implemented the rule in the early 1990s when it was found that lead and copper in drinking water could cause brain damage.
No data for any health violations or drinking water monitoring violations could be found on city-data.com.
It appears that while there have been some health violations noted, instances are very few and far between. Here's hoping the water commissioners are able to get together and figure out what caused these recent issues so that we can avoid having issues in the future.