Featured, Local News

Bridgewater Mill drinking water system is out of compliance, fined $15,000

The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Tuesday, Sept. 28, that The Old Mill Marketplace Owners Association of Bridgewater and Woodstock was fined $15,000 for operating a public water system out of compliance with the Vermont water supply rules.

Public water systems vary from the large municipal systems to small private systems. All are responsible for providing safe, clean drinking water to their users. This includes regularly assessing water quality, proper maintenance of equipment like water storage tanks and pipes, as well as proper documentation and communication to water system users.

“Vermonters should not have to worry whether or not their water is clean and safe to drink,” stated Peter Walke, DEC commissioner, in a press release from the state Tuesday. “State law requires water system professionals in Vermont meet rigorous operation standards. DEC provides technical support to operators and, when needed, takes formal enforcement action to ensure that safety and quality.”

The Old Mill Marketplace Owners Association owns the Bridgewater Mill drinking water system, which regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents with drinking water. In a 2013 sanitary survey, DEC personnel noted deficiencies in the water system’s operations including leaks in the water storage tank and inadequate pressure to the connections served by the system. Additionally, the water system did not have an approved operations manual as required by law. These violations were again documented in a 2016 sanitary survey. As was an E. coli positive sample. It was unclear why the bacteria was present, but the compromised storage tank was suspected. The system operators made some temporary operational changes to reduce the potential for contamination from the storage tank, according to a follow up email to the Mountain Times from John Zaikowski, Esq., enforcement and litigation section chief for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. And the system was placed on a boil water notice until follow-up sampling proved the water was safe. Since then, based on required monitoring, the water has complied with applicable standards.

To resolve the matter, The Old Mill Marketplace Owners Association agreed to a number of corrective measures including increasing the water pressure and fixing the leaking storage tank within six months.

Mountain Times Newsletter

Sign up below to receive the weekly newsletter, which also includes top trending stories and what all the locals are talking about!