Dalton: LCWD declines meeting invitation

Published in the August 22, 2018 edition


LYNNFIELD — With no end in sight to ongoing discolored water issues in portions of the Lynnfield Center Water District (LCWD), a small group of residents urged the Board of Selectmen to take action in order to rectify the problem on Monday.

The residents’ latest round of concerns come two months after the selectmen and LCWD officials held a joint meeting about discolored water in June. During the June meeting, residents living in the Apple Hill Lane, Chestnut Street, Cortland Lane and Lowell Street areas of town discussed discolored water in their homes and LCWD officials gave an overview of the course of action they have been undertaking. The Al Merritt Center was full of concerned residents.

CDM Smith engineers Elaine Sistare and Angela Moulton attributed the discolored water issues to iron and manganese built up in pipe walls. As a result, the LCWD plans on installing greensand filters at a new Glen Drive treatment plant in order to treat iron and manganese.

In the meantime, the LCWD has implemented a directional flushing program.

After Town Administrator Rob Dolan informed the board last month that the town has been “still getting a few calls” about discolored water, Selectmen Chairman Dick Dalton requested LCWD representatives to appear at the selectmen’s August meeting.

“It’s unfortunate that we extended an invitation to them to be here this evening and they declined,” said Dalton.

Seven residents attended the meeting and three residents aired concerns about the discolored water problem.

Peter Volpe, 794 Lowell St., said his family is continuing to “experience discolored water at our home multiple times per week.” Volpe said he has expressed his concerns to the LCWD Board of Water Commissioners on “multiple occasions.”

“But we have only been met with resistance and no resolution,” said Volpe. “The Lynnfield Center Water District is denying and avoiding this problem, which is clear based on their decision not to attend this meeting but also because they are doing everything they can to avoid testing the discolored water.”

Volpe accused the LCWD of “being adamant about flushing the pipes” before taking samples of discolored water.

“It also allows enough time for the discolored water to purge the system,” Volpe argued.

Volpe claimed the LCWD Water Commissioners’ minutes from the meetings he has attended “are inaccurate and are recorded” in the board’s favor.

“What they are doing is wrong,” said Volpe. “I understand the town of Lynnfield has no jurisdiction over the LCWD, however, as residents of the town, we are all involved and feel the town does have responsibility to protect the residents. We have done everything that has been asked of us and there has been no resolution. The water is not safe and someone is going to have health ramifications as the result of it.”

Karen Colby, 23 Cortland Ln., brought a sample of discolored water from her home to the meeting. She said discolored water at her house either looks like “chamomile tea” or looks “rusty, dirty and murky.”

“My family drinks a lot of tea and at the end of the night, when I shake out the tea pot, there are clumps of iron that collect at the bottom of the pot as the water is evaporated,” said Colby. “This is ongoing. I can’t tell you how many white towels of ours have been ruined. It has been ongoing for a long time.”

Patrice Lane resident Pat Campbell urged the concerned residents to attend LCWD board meetings in order to voice their concerns.

Dalton thanked the residents for giving an overview of the ongoing discolored water problems they are experiencing.

“We hear you,” said Dalton. “I hope you understand our position, which is we don’t have authority over the Lynnfield Center Water District. I think the best thing you can do is show up at (LCWD) meetings. I look at it as someone who came from the private sector. We have to answer to shareholders. You are the shareholders to the Lynnfield Center Water District.”

Dalton requested Dolan to meet with Town Counsel Tom Mullen to discuss the LCWD’s water issues.

“Hopefully they will come back with some alternative measures that we might consider taking,” said Dalton.

LCWD responds

LCWD Superintendent Ken Burnham provided the following statement to the Villager on why LCWD officials did not attend the selectmen’s meeting.

“We would have been at the meeting, but we weren’t on the agenda,” said Burnham. “We have been in discussions with the town administrator about this issue, but I looked at (Selectman) Chris Barrett’s (Facebook page) and saw we were not on the agenda.”

The LCWD superintendent claimed the district was never formally invited to the meeting.

Burnham informed the Villager plans for the new Glen Drive plant are “moving along.” After the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection reviews the plans, Burnham said LCWD residents will be asked to vote on the $4M project.

“Hopefully that will happen before next spring’s meeting,” said Burnham.