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Select Board Letter Re: Iron-Manganese in Water To Groton Water Commissioners

Editor: Groton Select Board Chairman Alison Manugian, recognizing that the Groton Water Commissioners are an independent elected Board, advised the Select Board that she felt that “we should let them know that we are concerned, that we value communication and extend an offer to help them. We need to be up-to- date on this as much as possible.”
     She drafted a letter regarding the recent report from the Water Commissioners about the public drinking water containing elevated levels of manganese that are reportedly a risk to infants and pregnant mothers. She asked for the Board’s approval to send it to the Water Commissioners.
     Colleague John Giger suggested also requesting that the Water Commissioners prepare an “Excel spread sheet that looks at the alternatives and provides the rate per gallon of water impact. I don’t want people to shut off the town water and put in a well.”
     Following further discussion, the Select Board agreed to send the letter to the Water Commissioners, which read as follows:
Dear Members of the Water Commission:
     Your presentation at our last Select Board meeting, and ability to answer questions, was very much appreciated and it is evident that you have a lot of knowledge around Iron- Manganese in a water supply. As you were in February, we were surprised by the issues raised and the possible costs to remedy this situation in compliance with DEP requirements.
     The possible health concerns for infants in our community are concerning and communication will be vital. We recognize that Water Commissioners are directly elected and that the Board doesn’t report to the Select Board in any way. That said, we would like to be informed and able to assist in answering community questions and making sure that water users are knowledgeable. Several community members have expressed concern about the six- month delay in letting the public know about this issue.
     We understand that the path forward has not yet been determined and that DEP will have to approve plans and next steps. The cost of remedying
this situation appears to be in the millions of dollars and will likely impact rate payers and the community in general. We understand that you have retained an Engineering Consultant to help review alternatives and determine how we move forward. It would be helpful for us again to be informed about alternatives and options as well as an anticipated timeline for discussions with DEP and remedy. If there are reports, analysis or data that you can share with us it would be helpful, including the anticipated costs and potential cost allocations of the various alternatives. We will need more information as soon as possible to update the long-term financial plans of the Town.
     We will add this topic to the ongoing issues list on our agenda for meetings. This allows us to get updates from you, or the Town Manager, at any point. If there are ways in which we can assist you, please let us know.
Sincerely, Select Board By: Alison S. Manugian, Chair
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