Study raises questions
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is
looking into whether the process of treating waste is creating perchlorate, the
The department has decided to pursue this action based on
the results of that located potential sources of the chemical perchlorate in
the Tewksbury drinking water supply at levels above what the state considers
safe, the Boston Globe reported.
The DEP’s health advisory level is 1 part per billion.
The first of two main sources of contamination is the Lowell
wastewater treatment facility. This facility registered perchlorate levels at
the discharge point between 18 and 21.9 parts per billion even though levels at
the intake were negligible, the report stated.
The second main source is a storm water discharge area at an
industrial site in where
prechlorate levels registering 52.9 parts per billion. The discharge basin
feeds into an unnamed stream that drains to the Merrimack River downstream of
Tewksbury's drinking-water intake pipe, according to the DEP.
Since early August, Tewksbury's perchlorate levels have
averaged 2.25 parts per billion in 11 tests, the Boston Globe reported.
''We don't know much about the perchlorate chemistry in
wastewater treatment plants," Environmental Department Deputee
Commissioner Ed Kunse told the Globe. ''Is it coming in [at] trace levels and being
concentrated, or is it being created through the treatment process?"