In an effort to bring the district's contaminated wells back into service, the Pascoag Utility District met with the state Department of Health last month. The board of utility commissioners unanimously supported formally seeking approval from the state Health Department to use the wells again.
"It's too large a water supply to just walk away from," said board Chairman Albert G. Palmisciano.
In August 2001, Pascoag's water supply was contaminated with the gasoline additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE. Recent work on the well has given Pascoag officials hope. A test of the wells found MTBE concentrations at 40 to 70 parts per billion, compared to 2001, when they were at more than 700 ppb. The Health Department advisory is set at 40 ppb.
The Health Department set forth a list of issues to be addressed. Which included both the MTBE contaminating in the ground water and what was learned by how fast the contamination affected this well. They also need to consider the high costs of treatment, frequent monitoring and reducing the vulnerability of the well should also be considered, stated the cheif of the department's Office of Drinking Water Quality, June Swallow. She also statedthat, "The costs for installing a treatment system at the wellhead, which can be tricky because it needs to address a particular level of contamination."
The Environmental Protection Agency has committed $2 million in grants, and has discussed an additional $1 million.