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Town Reaches $4.3 Million Agreement with Nordblom Over Groundwater Contamination

The Town of Burlington has reached an agreement with a major developer in town over groundwater contamination that limited the municipal water supply.

Town Administrator Paul Sagarino announced the agreement with Nordblom Company during Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting. He said it is in regards to the contamination of portions of the Vine Brook Aquifer by 1:4 dioxane that caused the town to close three wells and lose one million gallons a day in capacity. After scientific modeling was done it was determined that the contamination came from a property owned by Nordblom.

Sagarino said the agreement was long in the works.

“This is the culmination of a long discussion with the Nordblom Company that began over 10 years ago under Town Administrator Bob Mercier,” he said.

Under the agreement Nordblom will pay the town 23 annual payments of $190,634 for a total of $4,384,582 starting in January of 2022. Burlington will use the funds to cover costs related to the MWRA project. Nordblom does have the option of paying the sum early.

As part of the agreement, Burlington must complete both phases of the MWRA connection and agree to stop using the Vine Brook Aquifer as part of the town’s water supply. The town must also apply to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or approval to permanently abandon the Vine Brook Aquifer wellfield and diligently pursue DEP’s approval of the application.

Sagarino said he thought it was a fair agreement.

“Through substantial collaboration and negotiation we were able to come to this agreement that we think this is a fair and reasonable resolution to address this issue,” he told the board.

Members of the board said they were happy to have the issue resolved.

“This has been going on since before I got here,” Selectman Joe Morandi said. “I want to congratulate Mr. Sagarino, [DPW Director John] Sanchez and current and past board members. I can’t tell you how good it is to be done with this.”

“John Sanchez did an outstanding job, he truly believes in what he does,” Selectman Mike Runyan said. “He protects our water supply like it’s one of his children. It’s been a long negotiation and I’m glad we have the ball over the goal line and I look forward to the MWRA connection. Great job everybody.”