June 18 2020

DPW: Water Usage Too High To Sustain

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Department of Public Works (DPW) is stressing the need to conserve water and abide by the watering restrictions during this dry weather. 

“Due to the dry conditions the town is experiencing, outdoor water use has increased dramatically very early in the season,” a release from the department states. “We are requesting our residents and businesses to comply with the current even/odd outdoor watering restriction and to limit excess watering as much as possible.”

On June 16, 2020 the town experienced the highest water demand of the season at 4.5 million gallons in one day. In April the water demand was less than half of the current demand.

Both water treatment facilities are operating at their highest production levels at this time, the release states. 

“Note that these production levels are not sustainable for the entire season as the town depends on water already stored at the Mill Pond Reservoir,” the DPW says. “In addition, we are limited by the reduction of operating wells at the Vine Brook Treatment Plant due to 1,4 dioxane levels at wells 3, 4, and 5 that are currently off-line. 

The current water ban states that residents and businesses can use automated outdoor watering systems (sprinklers) every other day and not between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The day you can water is based on your address - if it is an even number you can water on even numbered days and vice versa.

In an interview with BNEWS, DPW John Sanchez said that if the current rate of water use continues and the weather stays dry a full watering ban may be necessary. 

“If we get to the point that we have to pick between essential water use and outdoor watering, we are going to pick essential water use,” he said. 

Sanchez added that many residents ask the department about water use by businesses and wonder if that is where the big water use occurs. He said this is not the case and that the business shutting down due to the pandemic demonstrates that. 

“Many businesses are not open yet and the water usage is still going up,” he said.


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