May 27 2020

Full Outdoor Watering Ban Lifted and Selectmen Expected to Ratify Decision

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington’s full outdoor watering ban has been lifted by Town Administrator Paul Sagarino retroactively to May 23 and the decision will likely be ratified by the Board of Selectmen on Thursday. 


The lifting of the full ban was done at the recommendation of Department of Public Works Director John Sanchez. He explained that years ago the Board of Selectmen voted to give the authorization to the town administrator to declare or lift watering bans on the condition that the board had a vote to ratify the decision at its next meeting. This was done because watering bans are often implemented in the summer when the board has fewer meetings. 


The board will be taking up the ban during a special meeting on Thursday, May 28 and all indications are that they will ratify it. 


“We will be going back to every other day,” Board Chairman Joe Morandi said. 


The reason this iteration of the full watering ban was first put into place was the fear that if someone in the Water Treatment Division contracted COVID-19 anyone who had come in contact with that person would have to be quarantined for 14 days. The concern was that if many of the employees of the division were out of work the department might not be able to keep up with the extra demand that irrigation systems put on the system. 


Sanchez said that now that things are slowly starting to open up there is less concern than in mid-March when the pandemic was ramping up. Another big change, he said, is that test kits are more widely available. 


So now if one operator is in contact with someone with the virus then he or she can get tested,” he said. “If they do have it we lose that one operator and not most of the crew.” 


Though the full watering ban has been lifted, the year-round watering restrictions for irrigation systems, however, are still in place. This means there is no watering from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and that residents and businesses can only water every other day. Watering will be on even/odd days based on the property’s address, meaning that if you have an even number for an address you can water on even days of the month and visa-versa for odd addresses. Everyone can water on the 31st of the month.


The following uses may be allowed during the watering ban: 


‐ Irrigation to establish a new lawn and new plantings during the months of April, May, September and October (by written authorization by the Department of Public Works) No irrigation allowed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 


‐ Irrigation of public parks and recreational fields by means of automatic sprinklers outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


‐ Irrigation of gardens, flowers, and ornamental plantings by means of a hand-held hose only. 


‐ To meet core functions of a business or commercial activity 


Finally, there are fines for breaking the water restrictions. On the first violation a person will be issued a warning, on the second a fine of $50 will be imposed and a fine of $100 will be imposed for each subsequent violation.


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