To the editor:

Residents of Beverly and Salem, how do you like your water?

We like ours clean, safe and, hopefully, tasting good. Your communities, along with many others, derives drinking water from the Ipswich River. Each community along the river draws its portion in order going downriver toward the ocean. The actions taken in communities upstream from you that influence the river can affect your water quality.

Given this perspective, you and your community should be interested in what happens “upstream” from your water supply. Right now, there is a proposal that has been filed in North Reading and with the state that could significantly affect your water supply. There is a proposal to build a substantially large volume of housing on the banks of the Ipswich River behind 20 Elm St. (Route 62) in North Reading, just before the Middleton line. Please note, North Reading draws its water well before this location. The influence of this proposed 40b project will be felt by those properties downriver from North Reading.

North Reading, as with many of the communities along the river, does not have community sewage collection and disposal. the responsibility, subject to approval, is on the property owner (or developer). The volume of sewage produced at this proposed development location could be substantial. On paper, secure and safe measures could be planned. This is nice, but a little slip -- oops -- or error will affect the thousands of residents from your community and all the other communities downstream from this project. Certainly, with no errors, taste and water quality will still be a question.

There is a committee in North Reading (Defend Ipswich River Communities, Box 695, North Reading, Ma., 01864, defendipswichriver.org) addressing the concerns listed here. If you care about your water or are concerned about this potential health issue, please contact the committee or your down and express your feelings. Get informed. Find out how you can help. Act now! If you don’t -- who will?

Geoffrey Bemiss

Ipswich River Water Association member

Donald Putney

North Reading