2015 Water Quality Report
Ashburnham Water Department
Public Water System #2011000


(Click to view or download a PDF version of this report here.)


Dear Water Customer,

We are pleased to present you with the 2015 Ashburnham Water Quality Report. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires that utilities issue an annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to customers in addition to other notices that may be required by law. This report provides information about where your water is drawn from, how it is processed, how to protect it, levels of any contaminant detected, compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regulations, cross connection control information and helpful definitions. Included in this report is a complete summary of all water quality testing done in the preceding year. The Ashburnham Water Department is committed to providing you with the safest drinking water and enough capacity to meet your demands.

Where? How?

Ashburnham’s drinking water comes from the Upper Naukeag Lake. The Upper Naukeag Lake is a shared water source that provides water to both the Town of Ashburnham and the Town of Winchendon. Water is pumped from the lake to the Ashburnham-Winchendon Joint Water Filtration Plant (PWS #2011004) which is located at 204 Lake Road in Ashburnham. Here, the water is clarified and filtered. Chemicals are added to aid in clarification, filtration, disinfection, and corrosion control. The pH of the water is controlled to prevent corrosion to your plumbing which can cause lead, copper, and other metals to enter your water through the deterioration of plumbing pipes. Phosphates (corrosion inhibitors) are also added to aid in plumbing and water main corrosion prevention.

Finally, fluoride is added to the water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in many water supplies in trace amounts. In our system, the AWJWA voted to lower the adjusted fluoride level to a daily average 0.7 part per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/l) to improve dental health in children. At this level, it is safe, odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Our water system has been providing this treatment since 1958. There are over 3.9 million people in 140 Massachusetts water systems and 184 million people in the United States who receive the health and economic benefits of fluoridation.

From the water filtration plant the water is pumped into 53 miles of water transmission mains and into two water storage tanks. Combined capacity provides 1.5 million gallons of storage, which is equivalent to approximately 3 days capacity under normal water usage. The tanks are located on Cushing Street and on Rt. 101 about 4 miles south of the water plant. In 2015 the water plant produced an average of 406,600 gallons per day (GPD) with an annual total of 148.4 million gallons (MG) of water produced for Ashburnham residents. There are approximately 1,300 service connections to the system with over 270 fire hydrants in town.

Health Information

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, MassDEP and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribe regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water that must provide the same protection for public health. Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).

Finally, fluoride is added to the water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in many water supplies in trace amounts. In our system the fluoride level is adjusted to an optimal level averaging 1 part per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/l) to improve dental health in children. At this level, it is safe, odorless, colorless, and tasteless.  Our water system has been providing this treatment since 1958. There are over 3.9 million people in 140 Massachusetts water systems and 184 million people in the United States who receive the health and economic benefits of fluoridation.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).

Sources of Drinking Water and Drinking Water Contaminants

The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in source water include Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife. Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial, or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, and farming. Pesticides and herbicides may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff and residential uses. Organic chemical contaminants include synthetic and volatile organic chemicals that are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems. Radioactive contaminants can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production, and mining activities.

 2015 Drinking Water Quality Test Results

During 2015 the Water Department and the filtration plant tested your water for chlorine residual, turbidity (clarity), total trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, bacteria, volatile organic chemicals, inorganics, perchlorate, synthetic organic compounds, nitrate and fluoride. The following test results were from monitoring performed during 2015 or the most recent sampling period for each contaminant group, as required by MassDEP. Only detected contaminants in finished water are shown.

Regulated Contaminants

Inorganic & Synthetic Organic Contaminants

Dates Collected

Highest  Amount Detected or Highest RAA*

Range Detected

MCL or MRDL

MCLG or MRDLG

Violation (Y/N)

Possible Sources

Fluoride (ppm)

Daily at treatment plant 2015

1.1

0.63– 1.1

4*

4

N

 

Water additive which promotes strong teeth

Perchlorate (ppb)

 

9/2/2015

 

 

0.062

--

2

--

 

N

Rocket propellants, fireworks, munitions, blasting agents

Arsenic
(ppm)

4/29/15

0.001

0.001

10

--

N

Erosion of natural  
deposits

Hexachlorocyclopentadiene
(ppb)

5/8/2013
11/14/2013

0.13

0 - .13

50

50

N

Manufacturing of other chemicals

Barium (ppm)

4/29/2015

0.006

--

2

--

N

Erosion of natural deposits

Nickel (ppm)

4/29/2015

0.003

--

11

--

N

Discharge industrial processes

Nitrate (ppm)

4/29/2015

0.07

--

10

--

N

Run off from fertilizer 

*   Fluoride also has an SMCL (secondary MCL) of 2 ppm

* Note: Our Customers on the Winchendon Line – finished water does not contain fluoride.

 

Disinfection

Disinfection does not sterilize the water; it removes harmful organisms. Ashburnham-Winchendon Water Filtration Plant uses sodium hypochlorite as its primary disinfectant. Chlorine destroys organisms by penetrating cell walls and reacting with enzymes. When combined with proper filtration, disinfection with chlorine has been proven effective at ensuring that water is free of harmful organisms and safe to drink.

Disinfection Contaminants

Year

Highest RAA*

Range Detected

MCL or MRDL

MCLG or MRDLG

Violation (Y/N)

Possible Sources

Total Trihalomethanes (ppb)   - Sampled quarterly

2015

62

30 - 62

80

--

N

Byproduct of drinking water chlorination

Haloacetic Acids (ppb) – Sampled quarterly

2015

36.8

28 - 38

60

--

N

Byproduct of drinking water disinfection

Chlorine (ppm) – Sampled monthly

2015

0.94

0.28 – 0.94

4

4

 

N

Water additive used to control microbes

*The running annual average (RAA) is the highest average of four consecutive quarters.

Turbidity

Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of the water. We monitor it because it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of our filtration system. We begin by monitoring raw water turbidity, then we monitor turbidity after each filter, and finally we take a finished water sample. This tells us how much turbidity we are removing. At the treatment plant, turbidity is monitored continuously in addition to manual sampling each day to confirm that the in-line analyzers are monitoring correctly. In 2015, the average turbidity in the water leaving the filtration plant was 0.07 NTU (see Important Definitions below) with a maximum of 0.27 NTU.

Turbidity
 
Year
TT

Lowest Monthly % of Samples

Highest Detected Daily Value

Violation (Y/N)

Possible Source of Contamination

Daily Turbidity
Compliance (NTU)

 

2015

 

1

-----

 

0.13
4/15/2015

 

N

Soil runoff

Monthly Compliance*

2015

At least 95%
< 0.3 NTU

 

100

-----

 

N

Soil runoff

*Monthly turbidity compliance is related to a specific treatment technique (TT). This treatment facility filters the water so at least 95% of our samples each month must be below the turbidity limits specified in the regulations.

Corrosion Control

Many drinking water sources in New England are naturally corrosive (i.e., they have a pH of less than 7.0) so, the water supply has a tendency to corrode and dissolve the metal piping it flows through. This not only damages pipes but can also add harmful metals, such as lead and copper, to the water. For this reason, it is beneficial to add chemicals that provide a protective pipe coating and make the water neutral or slightly alkaline. This is done by adding combinations of water treatment chemicals. The Ashburnham-Winchendon Water Filtration Plant adds sodium poly-phosphate to its water. Sodium poly-phosphate is often referred to as an inhibitor and is what coats the inside of the pipe. It contains a small concentration of phosphate. Sodium carbonate (commonly known as soda ash) raises the water’s pH to a non-corrosive level. Testing throughout the water system has shown that this treatment has been effective at reducing lead and copper concentrations.

Lead & Copper

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The Ashburnham Water Department is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at www.epa.gov/safewater/lead. Below are the results from the most recent two rounds of testing.

Lead and Copper

Date Collected

90th Percentile*

Action Level (AL)

MCLG

# of sites sampled

Exceeds  AL (Y/N)

# of sites above AL 

Possible Sources

Lead (ppb)

 

9/ 9/2015

0.002

 

15

0

 

20

 

N

 

1

Corrosion of household plumbing

Copper (ppm)

9/ 9 /2015

0.095

 

1.3

1.3

 

20

 

N

none

Corrosion of household plumbing

*Lead and copper compliance is based on the 90th percentile value, which is the highest level found in 9 out of 10 homes sampled. This number is compared to the action level for each contaminant.

Unregulated VOC’s and Secondary Contaminants

Unregulated contaminants are those for which the EPA has not established drinking water standards. The purpose of unregulated contaminant monitoring is to assist the EPA in determining their occurrence in drinking water and whether future regulation is warranted. Below are the results from the most recent round of testing. All detected substances did not exceed any MCL, SMCL or Action level.

Unregulated, VOC and Secondary Contaminants

Date
Collected

Amount Detected

SMCL

ORSG or Health Advisory

Possible Sources

Sodium (ppm)

4/29/2015

11

--

20

Natural sources; runoff from road salt

Manganese (ppb)

5/7/2014

1.0

59

300

Erosion of natural deposits

Iron

5/7/2014

.008 ppm

2

__

Erosion of natural deposits

Chloroform

4/29/2015

8.7 ppb

--

--

---

Bromodichloromethane

4/29/2015

1.4 ppb

--

--

---


Radioactive Contaminants

Date
Collected

Amount Detected

MCL

Violation

Possible Sources

Gross Alpha (pCi/l)

4/29/2015

11.5

15

N

Erosion of natural deposits

Radium 226 & 228

4/29/2015

0.6 /0.2 pCI/L

--

N

Erosion of natural deposits

 

Important Definitions

Maximum Contaminant Level or MCL: The highest level of a contaminant in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal or MCLG: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below, which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

Unregulated Contaminants: Contaminants for which there are no established EPA drinking water regulations.

Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant that, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements, which a water system must follow.

Treatment Technique (TT): A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG): The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL): These standards are developed to protect the aesthetic quality of drinking water and are not health based.

Massachusetts Office of Research and Standards Guideline (ORSG): This is the concentration of a chemical in drinking water at or below which adverse health effects are unlikely to occur after chronic (lifetime) exposure, with a margin of safety. If exceeded, it serves as an indicator of the potential need for further action.

NTU: Nephelometric turbidity unit. ppm: One part per million, which also equals 1 milligram per liter(mg/L), is equivalent to one drop in 10 gallons.

ppb: One part per billion, which also equals 1 microgram per liter(ug/L), is equivalent to one penny in $10 million dollars.

pCI/L: picocuries per liter

Protection and Conservation

Protecting our drinking water is crucial, whether it’s from pollution (rain run-off, improper disposal of hazardous materials or cross connection) or waste due to leaks from plumbing fixtures or corroded pipes. Massachusetts DEP has written a Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) report for Ashburnham’s water system. This includes potential contamination sources near Upper Naukeag Lake. This report assesses the susceptibility of the water system. Ashburnham was given a rating of “high” susceptibility due to land use in the area. It is important to understand that a release may never occur from the potential source of contamination provided facilities are using best management practices (BMPs). If BMPs are in place, the actual risk may be lower than the threat ranking. Many potential sources of contamination are regulated at the federal, state and/or local levels to further reduce the risk. Ashburnham’s SWAP report can be obtained at the Ashburnham Water Department office or online at www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/water/drinking/swap/cero/2011000.pdf.

Water conservation is another way to protect our drinking water by ensuring that we don’t diminish our resource. As much as 97% of the world’s water is saltwater, leaving 3% freshwater, two-thirds of which is stored as icecaps or glaciers. This leaves us 1% of the world’s water for drinking. Needless to say, water conservation will help us sustain our precious 1%. Here are a few ways to help out. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. This saves 750-1,500 gallons per month. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. This saves three gallons each day. Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation. This saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. This saves 750 to 1500 gallons per month.

Backflow and Cross-Connections

Massachusetts drinking water regulations state that an approved public water supply may not be connected to an unapproved supply, such as a private well. Such a connection is considered an illegal cross connection. A cross connection is any connection between piping that carries drinking water (also known as potable) and the piping or fixtures that carry other types of water or substances that are not safe to drink (also known as non-potable). Ideally, it is best to not have any cross-connections, but in certain situations they are unavoidable. Examples include residential fire systems, wells or auxiliary water systems, lawn irrigation systems, boilers, swimming pools and hot tubs that are hard piped for filling purposes and even garden hoses.

A garden hose placed into a bucket could pose a backflow risk if a fire hydrant were operated in the water system. The drop in water pressure could cause the contents of the bucket to be drawn into the water system and possibly contaminate the drinking water. An unprotected cross-connection threatens the health and safety of individuals and may contaminate food or beverage products utilizing water from that system. To eliminate the potential for reverse flow back into the potable water supply, the Ashburnham Water Department recommends installing hose bibb vacuum breakers on your outside spigots so that water can only flow in one direction. These devices are small, inexpensive, and readily available from hardware stores.

Water System Contacts and Public Participation Opportunities

The Ashburnham Water Department is located in the DPW Complex at 17 Central Street, Ashburnham, MA 01430. Our regular hours are Monday - Friday 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM. If you have any questions about your drinking water or the information provided in this CCR, please contact us at 978-827-4120 or visit us online at www.ashburnham-ma.gov/Pages/AshburnhamMA_BComm/water. Copies of this report are available online and on request.

The Ashburnham Water/Sewer Commission meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 6:00 PM in the lower-level meeting room of the Town Hall at 32 Main Street. The agendas for these meetings are posted on our website and in Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend and participate.

Leo Collette: Chairman, Ashburnham Water-Sewer Commission
Jim Zarozinski: Ashburnham Water Department

Contact Data

Ashburnham Dept of Public Works
Ashburnham Water & Sewer

17 Central St/Rte 101
Ashburnham, MA 01430

Phone: 978-827-4120
Fax ::: 978-827-4121
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-3pm

Ashburnham Municipal Grounds Dept.
8 Williams Rd
Ashburnham, MA 01430

Phone ::: 978-827-4122
Fax ::: 978-827-3236

Stephen Nims, Superintendent
Mary Calandrella, Administrative Secretary

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