Water District News


Barnstable Fire District Water Department
2010 Annual Water Quality Report
Barnstable, Massachusetts
What’s the Quality of My Water?
The Barnstable Fire District Water Department is pleased to share this water quality report with 
you. It describes to you, the customer, the quality of your drinking water. This report covers 
January 1 through December 31, 2010. The Barnstable Fire District Water Department strives 
to comply with the strict regulations of both the State of Massachusetts and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires all water suppliers to prepare reports like this 
every year.
In 2010 our water department distributed 193,000,000 gallons of water to our customers. Our 
water source is groundwater pumped from four gravel-packed wells which are located throughout the District.  Well #1 is located on Phinney's Lane which is adjacent to our office. Well #2 
is located on Breed's Hill which is adjacent to the airport. Wells #3 and 4 are located on Route 
132 which is adjacent to the golf course.Barnstable treats your water by adding KOH to adjust the pH to a neutral 7.0. Town zoning laws limits and/or prohibits certain uses of the land surrounding the well fields and recharge areas.As required by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, the Massachusetts Department 
of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed a source water assessment plan (SWAP) for 
Barnstable Fire District. The report states that the District relies on four groundwater wells to 
supply its customers with drinking water. The wells are located in an aquifer with a high vulnerability to contamination due to the absence of hydrogeologic barriers that can prevent contaminant migration. The rating reflects the potential for contamination of source water, not the existence of contamination. A full report is available for viewing online at  http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/drinking/swapreps.htm or contact the Barnstable Fire District water office at 508-362-6498 for more information on this report.Board of Water Commissioners: David A. Jones, Chairman; Evelyn G. Bassett, Member;Stephen F. Whitmore, Member If you have any questions about this report or concerning your water utility, please contact Jon R. Erickson, Superintendent, by calling 508-362-6498 or by writing to this address: PO Box 546, Barnstable, MA 02630-0546.  Also, you are welcome and encouraged to attend our regular Board of Water Commissioners meetings the 1st Tuesday of each month at 4:30 PM at the Water Department Office (1841 Phinney's Lane).2Emerging Contaminants in Public Drinking Water Wells
The water department is taking a pro-active role in determining the absence or presence of 
EDCs (Endocrine Disrupting Compounds) in the drinking water of the Village.  In 2009, our 
water department along with eight others on Cape Cod partnered with the Silent Spring Institute 
allowing them to sample our wells. These samples were tested for a wide range of organic 
wastewater compounds (OWCs), including pharmaceuticals and personal care products 
(PPCPs), hormones, herbicides, organophosphate flame retardants and perfluorinated chemicals. We also measured nitrate and boron, which are both typically present at elevated concentrations in wastewater. These samples were analyzed at Underwriters Laboratories in Indiana. 
Please contact our water department if you have any questions or concerns regarding the impacts and possible solutions to these emerging compounds or for a detailed analysis report.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants you to know:
In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations that limit the 
amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.  Food and Drug Administration regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water that must provide the 
same protection for public health.Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can 
be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791). 
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, 
ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through 
the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, 
and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. 
Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife. 
Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas 
production, mining, or farming. Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.Organic chemical contaminants,  including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
    Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas 
production and mining activities. 32010 Monitoring Results for Barnstable Fire District Water Department
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections.  These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. DefinitionsMaximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology. Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety. Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG): The level 
of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health.  MRDLGs do not reflect 
the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.  Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level 
(MRDL): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water.  There is convincing evidence that addition 
of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants. Action Level (AL): The concentration of a contaminant, which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements, which a water system must follow.  Treatment Technique (TT):  A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.  90th 
Percentile:   90% of samples are equal to or less than the number in the chart.  NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity 
Units):  A measure of clarity. NA:  Not applicable. pCi/L (picocuries per liter):  a measure of radioactivity. ND:  
Not detectable at testing limits.  PPB (parts per billion):   micrograms per liter (ug/l).  PPM (parts per million):  
milligrams per liter (mg/l). CDC: Centers for Disease Control. EPA:  Environmental Protection Agency.4
The state allows us to monitor for some contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently.  Some of our data, though accurate, 
are more than one year old.   
Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of the water. We monitor it because it is a good indicator of water quality. High turbidity can hinder the effectiveness of disinfectants.
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant 
women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components 
associated with service lines and home plumbing. The Barnstable Fire District Water Department is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of 
materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, 
you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, 
you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water 
Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop 
kidney problems or high blood pressure.
As a result of the positive coliform samples, water from those sources was temporarily chlorinated.
Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. As our customers, you have a 
right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct this situation. We routinely monitor for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Standards require 
that no more than 1 of our monthly samples may show the presence of coliform bacteria. During the months of May, July and November, two  samples showed the presence of coliform bacteria. One of the July samples and 2 of the November samples also showed the presence of 
E.coli bacteria. As a result of these positive samples, a boil water notice was issued and the location where the samples were taken, was taken offline and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Coliforms are bacteria which are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present. Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed and this was a warning of potential problems. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are 
bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal 
wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and 
people with severely compromised immune systems.
We also received a monitoring and reporting violation in May 2010. The Department of Environmental protection was not properly notified of the monthly MCL violation by the end of the 
next business day after we learned of the violation.
Please contact the Water Department at 508-362-6498 with any questions or concerns about 
these violations.