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Town of Chatham News & Updates

Posted on: September 15, 2021

Outdoor Watering Ban in Effect

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Effective immediately, the Chatham Select Board, acting as Water & Sewer Commissioners, voted unanimously to ban all outdoor watering.

The watering ban includes no washing of driveways, sidewalks or vehicles; no washings of decks, furniture or houses; no topping off of swimming pools or hot tubs, no irrigation of established lawns, shrubs, flower gardens. The public may water new saplings, plantings, and lawns; vegetable gardens; and may clean the bottom of boats, flush boat engines, and wash down gear. 

Violations of this mandatory outdoor watering ban will result in the following:

  • First offense – Warning
  • Second offense - $100 fine
  • Third offense - $200 fine

This outdoor watering ban action was taken in response to a second public well being taken offline from the Town’s water supply system due to the detection of PFAS above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20.0 ng/L set by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) and ongoing drought conditions.

Test results of treated water samples taken from Well #8 on September 7, 2021, indicated PFAS levels of 20.1 ng/L and 20.2 ng/L. Well #8 was immediately taken offline from the Town’s water supply system. Well #5 had been taken offline from the Town’s water supply system in April due to the detection of PFAS above the MCL. Water entering the Town’s supply system is safe to drink. Both wells will remain offline until re-tests indicate PFAS levels below the MCL, MDEP approves them for use, and the Select Board approves their re-introduction to the system. The Town continues to move forward on engineering evaluations of PFAS treatment options which will be the subject of a Special Town Meeting in October.

Good quality and sufficient quantities of fresh drinking water are vital to the health of our community. The Town urges all residents, business owners, and visitors to adhere to the ban on outdoor watering to protect the Town’s drinking water supply. While the ban applies only to those on the public water supply, private well owners are asked to take these measures into consideration as we all draw from the same aquifer.

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