To the Editor:
There is much to communicate about recent and upcoming changes in Wenham’s water. We intend to provide more information through a series of letters regarding our water supply, treatment options and related topics. We would like to take this opportunity to address several of the concerns raised in the recent article titled “Wenham Water Woes.”
Wenham may still take pride in our water supply, although steps to keep it safe have recently affected the taste and smell. We are working diligently on ways to minimize the taste and odor issues through changes to our piping, and the amount and type of chlorine we will use in a future system. We expect noticeable improvements when we replace the temporary measures with more permanent ones. Our water source - the aquifer under the Wenham swamp - is still one of the best possible with no industrial development above it to add chemicals that would truly be of concern.
The noticeable but they were the result of issues we have been dealing with for some time. Our wells are located in a low-lying area south of that is subject to flooding.
With the town’s approval at Town Meeting, we recently upgraded the well houses and lined one of the wells to address occasional detections of coliform bacteria. In fact, the Water Commission was preparing to advocate for not having to chlorinate the water when our last round of sampling detected more serious issues, including those that . Now we must do what is necessary to keep the drinking water safe for all.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has told us we are the last distribution system of similar size in Massachusetts that did not have added chlorine.
We recognize that these changes are unfortunate and agree the citizens have a right to know why the changes have taken place. However, measures that involve public safety and compliance with state and federal laws regarding safe drinking water are not matters we can debate at Town Meeting or push back against. Your elected Water Commissioners and the Water Superintendent will continue to pursue all efforts to improve the taste and smell of our water while we ensure the delivery of safe drinking water to the citizens of Wenham.
Very truly yours,
The Wenham Water Commissioners
Ernest Ashley, Chairman