Mark Your Calendar for Two Important Water Events

Two interesting events about water in Acton are coming up this fall.

Sept. 22: Water Workshop

Back in the spring of 2017, Acton Town Meeting voted to request that the Board of Selectmen “commission a long-range (twenty year, future looking) study to establish the Town’s quantitative water needs, risks to the security and quality of its water resources, and the measures needed to protect those water resources.” The Town water study is kicking off next month with a half-day workshop organized by the Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC).

Representatives from the Board of Selectmen, the Acton Water District, Town staff, and selected Town committees will work together in small groups to consider five scenarios about possible future developments related to water in Acton. The goal is not to come up with solutions to these scenarios, but rather to develop a list of questions that future decision-makers will need to have answered in order to respond wisely should one of these scenarios come to pass. The emerging list of questions and information needs will inform the scope and emphasis of WRAC’s long-term water study.

Like all Town government meetings, the Water Workshop is open to the public. Attending members of the public will have an opportunity to contribute their ideas to the scenario discussions, and the public’s input will be incorporated into WRAC’s planning for the long-term water study.

When & Where? Saturday, September 22, 2018, 8:30am–12:30pm, Acton Town Hall, room 204.

Oct. 25: Panel Discussion of 1,4-Dioxane in Groundwater and Drinking Water

1,4-dioxane is a likely human carcinogen that is leaking into Acton’s groundwaters from the Nuclear Metal Inc. Superfund site and the W. R. Grace Superfund site. The contaminant has reached several of the Acton Water District public water supply wells. However, by blending water from the affected wells with water from other wells, the Water District has kept the level of 1,4-dioxane in the public water supply consistently below the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP’s) guidance level of 0.3 parts per billion. In the meantime, the federal Superfund program has begun an intervention to capture and divert some of the dioxane before it can reach our water wells.

The 1,4-dioxane situation is complicated, and many residents are unsure of what to think about it, and what to anticipate for the future. The Green Acton Water Committee and the Acton-Area League of Women Voters are sponsoring an educational panel discussion to help Acton residents better understand this problem. Three expert panelists will talk on various aspects of the situation, followed by lots of time for Q&A. The panel will be moderated by Green Acton Water Committee Chair and geoscientist Kim Kastens. Panelists and their topics are as follows:

  • Matt Mostoller, the Environmental Manager at the Acton Water District, will explain where 1,4-dioxane comes from, how it travels through the groundwater and arrives at Acton’s public water supply wells, and how much is found in our ground- and drinking water.   
  • A representative from the  Office of Research and Standards at MassDEP will share what is known about the impact of 1,4-dioxane on the human body, and explain how MassDEP sets guidelines for pollutants in drinking water.
  • Dan Groher, an environmental engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers will tell us about the efforts that are being made to intercept, divert, and treat 1,4-dioxane before it can get into the water supply wells.

When & Where: Thursday, October 25, 7–9pm, Acton Public Safety Building, 371 Main Street, EOC room.

Both events would benefit from active citizen participation. Please come and bring your questions. The Green Acton website will be posting additional background information prior to both events.


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