GROVELAND – Water and Sewer Department Superintendent Colin Stokes is pleased to announce that the Town of Groveland has received a state grant to study the feasibility of building a water treatment plant to address issues of iron and manganese in the water supply.
The $34,400 grant, announced Wednesday by Governor Charlie Baker, was part of $5 million in Housing Choice Community Capital Grant Program funds awarded to 28 cities and towns. The funding will be used in Groveland for a treatment plant feasibility study that will be performed by Environmental Partners of Quincy. The study will determine current water demand, estimate future residential development and demand, and consider options for a treatment plant to be built in the Town of Groveland.
“We are grateful to the state for this funding,” said Rebecca Oldham, Groveland’s Director of Economic Development, Planning and Conservation, who collaborated on the grant proposal. “Groveland residents want to be sure their water is as clean and clear as possible, and this study will be a major step toward achieving that goal.”
The Town of Groveland relies on groundwater to serve the needs of its citizens and business owners. Groveland’s water is considered clean and safe and ranks among the cleanest water supplies in Essex County by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, which studies municipal water supplies. In fact, the EWG ranks Groveland has the cleanest municipal water supply in the county, with only the Eagle Tor Trust water district and its 38 water customers in Topsfield receiving water that is considered cleaner than Groveland’s system and its 6,510 customers.
However, Groveland’s water, like many other groundwater supplies, contains elevated levels of iron and manganese. These common, naturally occurring minerals are found in both surface and groundwater. The Town of Groveland currently does not have a water treatment plant that could filter out or otherwise remove the mineral deposits. As a result, water can sometimes be discolored due to the mineral sediment. Regular flushing of the water system via hydrants helps ensure the long-term health and safety of the water system, but as long as the minerals exist in the earth, they will continue to accumulate unless a treatment plant is built.
Discoloration conditions change with water usage and seasons: spring lawn watering, firefighting, unauthorized hydrant usage, heavy construction and other sudden spikes in usage will stir sediment in the pipes. The sediment discolors the water, which can be off-putting to consumers, even through the water remains safe for all uses.
“Currently we do not run our wells at their highest pumping capacity due to the high mineral content,” Stokes said. “The higher the volume pumped, the higher the mineral content that gets pumped out into the system. We are extremely fortunate to receive funding from the Commonwealth for a treatment plant feasibility study. This is a step in the right direction toward providing our community with the cleanest, clearest water possible.”
The Water Department searched for a new water source with lower mineral content. It completed a hydrological study, then drilled exploration wells last summer. Test wells showed levels of iron and manganese equal to or higher than the current water supply, removing a new well as an option.
“We cannot control the minerals that exist underneath Groveland, but we are committed to maintaining high standards of drinking water for our residents and business owners, and the feasibility study will give us vital information we need to move into the future,” Stokes said.
The Housing Choice Community Capital Grant Program supports new and affordable housing, capital improvement projects and new infrastructure.
Groveland’s grant was one of nine awarded from grant money set aside for communities with populations less than 7,000.