July 9 2018

DPW Addressed Commonly Asked Questions about Water Ban

By: Rich Hosford

Many residents have been asking questions since a full watering ban was put into effect last week and the Department of Public Works (DPW) has released a statement trying to address at least some of them.

As reported on BNEWS, the full watering ban went into effect on July 6 after additional repair work was found to be required at the Vine Brook Treatment Plant. During scheduled work the contractor found additional issues with some hatches and other equipment that need to be addressed immediately to keep the plant operational in the years ahead.

DPW Director John Sanchez said that to do this more extensive work the output from the treatment plant had to be reduced, which created the need for the watering ban. He also said that the extra work has pushed back a scheduled clean-out of the sanitation tank at the Mill Pond Reservoir plant, which will extend the duration of the ban. You can read that article here.

So what does the ban, officially known as the Outdoor Water Restriction, disallow?

Outdoor Watering Restrictions consists of:

- Irrigation of lawns via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems

- Washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks, except as necessary to apply surface treatments such as paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement.


The definition left some people wondering about some activities not specifically addressed and so the DPW put out a list of Frequently Asked Questions on its social media pages. Here are the Qs and As they listed:


Question: Are businesses and commercial users exempt from the Full Outdoor Water Ban?


Answer: No. All commercial/businesses must abide by the same water restrictions that we have asked of the residents.


Question: Can I water my plants, flowers and garden?


Answer: Yes. Though we’d prefer you fill a watering can and water your plants and gardens this way, you can water your plants, gardens and flowers with a hand-held hose. No watering of lawns allowed.


Question: I just put down a new lawn/sod, or re-seeded an area of my lawn. Can I water the lawn during the Full Outdoor Water Ban?


Answer: No. There is no watering of lawns in any capacity during the Full Outdoor Water Ban.


Question: What about wells? Are they exempt during the Full Outdoor Water Ban?


Answer: No. Wells are also included in this Ban and must abide by the same rules during this Full Outdoor Water Ban. This went into effect through the Board of Health on 6/1/17. Any water ban that is imposed by the Board of Selectmen will also be imposed on all wells. For more info you can contact the Board of Health at 781-270-1955.


Question: Why aren’t they doing something to prevent this from happening in the future?


Answer: The Town is. Town Meeting approved to connect to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) for situations that arise like this one. However, the permitting process takes about a year. The Town hopes to be connected on a limited capacity by the end of next year.


Question: What if I see someone violating the Full Outdoor Water Ban?


Answer: Please call the DPW at 781-270-1670.


Question: What are the fines for violating the Water Ban?


Answer: The Town does not want to fine anyone. We want everyone to abide by the water ban and not use the water to water lawns. But the [fine] structure is as follows:


- 1st offense - Warning

- 2nd offense - $50 fine

- 3rd offense and each subsequent offense - $100 find each time


Question: Can I wash my car?


Answer: No. This is not allowed unless it is the “Core Function” of your business.


Question: Can I power wash my house?


Answer: No. This is not allowed unless it is the “Core Function” of your business (such as when washing the house prior to painting).


Question: Can I top off my pool?


Answer: Yes. We ask that you contact the DPW at 781-270-1670 the day before you top it off so that we don’t flag your address as a violation.


Question: When will the ban be lifted?


Answer: When the Vine Brooke Treatment Plant is ready to go back online after the filter is repaired, we will reassess where we are in August. If the drought situation has worsened and the water table has dropped, we will readdress what type of Water Ban we will implement then.


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