SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 29, 2012

Danvers bans outdoor water use

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — Want to water your mums with a watering can or hose? Forget about it.

Plan to wash your car in the driveway? Out of the question.

Despite some recent rain, the town has banned all outdoor water use, due to a shutdown of the Danvers water treatment plant for a renovation project. The town has moved to drawing water from wells adjacent to the already stressed Ipswich River, according to a statement from the Department of Public Works.

“This is 100 percent related to the plant shutdown,” Robert Lee, director of operations at the DPW, said in a brief interview.

This is normally the time of year when outdoor water restrictions are removed.

Residents who violate the outside watering restrictions could face a warning for the first offense and fines for second and subsequent offenses. Lee said if residents initially cut down on water use, police and DPW crews might be more inclined to issue warnings than fines, but if demand does not drop, that may not be the case.

The town needs to get its water use below 2.8 million gallons per day.

“Historically, that’s obtainable,” Lee said.

The $20 million, 24-month rehabilitation and expansion of the water treatment facility is halfway complete. The work is being done to improve water quality and meet new federal water quality guidelines.

The watering restrictions should be in place for 45 days, after which the water treatment plant will resume its normal operation.

The plant is the primary source of water for Danvers and Middleton. Danvers will supply water to the two towns from its two wells and purchase water from the Salem-Beverly water system.

Under “normal circumstances,” the town would not be allowed to use its wells at this time of year, based on its water withdrawal permit with the state, Lee said.

The Department of Environmental Protection granted the town permission to use the wells with the condition that Danvers implement a Level 6 water ban, which allows no outdoor water use.

DPW officals are urging water customers to cut down on usage by running full loads of laundry and dishes, and shutting off the tap while shaving or brushing teeth.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.