Dec 31, 2006

2006 Water Quality Report

2006 Consumer Confidence Report

Category: Annual Water Quality Report
Posted by: admin

2006 Annual Water Quality Report

2006 Water Quality Report (.pdf)

Consumer Confidence Report
January 2007
PWS ID #4126000
Issue 9

The Harwich Water Department is pleased to present to its customers the 2006 Annual Consumer Confidence Report. In this brochure you will find what is in your water, the results of the tests performed in the last year, and how it is treated. This "Consumer Confidence Report" is required by law, but we are proud to share our results with you. Please read them carefully.

We are proud to report that the water provided by the Harwich Water Dept. meets or exceeds required water-quality standards.

If you would like to know more about the Water Department, Board of Water Commissioners meetings are held at 8:15 am on the first and third Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise posted and are open to the public. Meeting minutes are available on our website.

Consult our web site at and, for further information, see U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water information at (opens in new window) which is linked to our Web site. If you have any questions regarding this report, please contact Superintendent Craig Wiegand at 508-432-0304.

The Harwich Water Department produced a total of 759,802,792 gallons of water in 2006. This averages out to over 1,827,360 gallons per day. There were eighty six new services added to the system throughout the year, bringing the total to 9,706 accounts. During 2006, the department collected over 2,000 samples for general water chemistry and over 75 samples for regulated contaminants.

Harwich Water Department News

  • The 2nd year of the 30- year Capital Improvement Plan has been implemented. Thank you for your vote and support of the Enterprise Fund.
  • We have implemented our new GIS program through the town and Water Department vehicles as well as a new asset management program.
  • The "New Source" permitting process for a new water supply is now the long-term pump test and site review slated to be done in the spring of 2007.
  • In 2006 we received a $21,000 grant from Capelight Compact for the installation of Variable Speed Drives (VSD) for two pumping stations.
  • Installation of three new generators was completed during the late fall of 2006 at Wells 1, 2 and 11.
  • Construction of the New 1.5 Million Gallon Storage is complete.
  • Brooks Park storage tank was decommissioned. This location will now be the future site of our next new storage tank which is slated for construction in 2018.
  • In 2006 we replaced 24 hydrants and valves as part of our hydrant replacement program.

Harwich Water System and Source

MapThe Town of Harwich is supplied by groundwater from fourteen( 14) gravel packed wells. Our wellfields are located in South, East and North Harwich, which draw water from the Monomoy Lens Aquifer. The Main Station tubular wellfield and Stations One (1) through Four (4) are located off of Chatham Road, behind the Water Department's main office and garages. Station Five (5), Six (6) and Seven (7) are located off of Depot Road in South Harwich, next to the bike path. Stations Eight (8) and Nine (9) are off of Bay Road in East Harwich, Station Ten (10) is in North Harwich off of North Westgate Road on the Brewster Town line and Station number Eleven (11) is located off of Pleasant Bay Road in East Harwich.

Well Four (4), which can produce up to 500,000 gallons a day, has been restored to service. This particular well has elevated levels of iron and manganese. Although iron and manganese are not considered a health risk they can cause staining of laundry and household fixtures. Therefore, the Department will blend water from this well with that from several other wells, which do not have elevated iron or manganese to neutralize the iron and manganese levels in Well Four (4).

Momonomy Lens--Groundwater Source

Protecting the Monomoy Lens starts with understanding how it works - its hydrogeology. Lenses can be thought of as mounds of groundwater bordered by marine water at the edge, bedrock on the bottom, and separated from each other by tidal rivers, such as Bass River, that cut across the Cape peninsula. Groundwater refers to subsurface water located beneath the water table, in soils and geologic formations that are fully saturated. The entire layer of fresh groundwater beneath the Cape is referred to as the Cape Cod Sole Source Aquifer. Recharge to this lens comes from precipitation and snow fall.

The Monomoy Lens is approximately 300 feet thick and serves 49 municipal public water supply wells and an estimated 1,000 private wells. In the 1999 off-season, Cape municipal water suppliers pumped an average of five million gallons per day. Inseason this figure almost triples.

The Monomoy Lens supplies generally excellent drinking water from its porous sand and gravel deposits. The water is considered "soft" due to the lack of calcium and magnesium. The pH of the water is naturally low, which can cause blue staining on plumbing fixtures from copper piping. Municipal water supplies are treated to neutralize the pH. Naturally occurring iron and manganese can cause staining, odor and taste problems. Sodium chloride can be elevated in coastal areas due to salt spray or saltwater intrusion.

Momonoy Lens' Interconnection with Surface Waters

The Monomoy Lens also boasts over 200 freshwater lakes and ponds, 20 streams, and 150 miles of coastal shoreline. The inland surface water bodies are windows on the aquifer that reflect the intersection of low areas in the ground surface with the water table. Groundwater typically discharges into a pond on one side and then pond water recharges the lens on the other side. Streams and rivers act as drains that skim groundwater off the surface of the water table. The large Monomoy ponds (Long, Seymour and Hinkleys) receive groundwater discharge from the lens, which in turn, feeds the Herring River so that groundwater ultimately discharges as the stream flows into Nantucket Sound. Where there is only coastal shoreline, groundwater discharges directly into marine water as fresh water seepage. Because of this interconnection, all uses of water- whether for drinking, swimming, boating, clamming, cranberry farming, or wetland habitat - are dependent upon maintaining the quantity and quality of the lens.

Drinking Water Contaminates and Contaminate Sources

The quality of drinking water is a subject that is frequently discussed, but more often misunderstood. Just a few years ago we seldom questioned the water we drank. In the past few years technology has given us the ability to measure small amounts of contaminates. Along with technology come public awareness and more Federal and State regulations. Even with today's technology some people still question the safety of their public water supply and turn to alternative sources which may have less stringent testing requirements for drinking water. 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: (A) Microbial contaminants--such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife. (B) 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, and farming. (C) Pesticides and herbicides--which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban runoff, and residential uses. (D) Organic chemical contaminants--including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems. (E) Radioactive contaminants-- which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

Regulations and Limits--DEP, EPA, FDA, DPH

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribe regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water. All 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 (800-426- 4791)

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunecompromised 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 some infants can be particularly at risk for infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health agents. EPA/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on lowering the risk of infection by microbial contaminants are also available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline.

Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP)
Harwich Water Departments Rating is "HIGH"

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has prepared a Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP) Report for the water supply sources serving the Harwich water system. The SWAP Report assesses the susceptibility of public water supplies.

There exist a number of land uses and activities that are potential sources of contamination. The SWAP Report notes the following key issues for our sources; Inappropriate activities in Zone I areas, Residential land uses and activities within Zone IIs, Comprehensive wellhead protection planning for Zone IIs, Storm water pollution within Zone IIs, Transmission line right-of-way within Zone IIs, transportation corridor within Zone IIs. If you'd like to obtain a full copy of this report, please contact our office.

The complete SWAP report is available at the Water Department and online at For more information, call the Harwich Water Department at 508-432-0304.

Water Sampling

Test TubesIn order to determine the presence of any radioactive, biological, inorganic, volatile organic or synthetic organic contaminates, the Harwich Water Department takes hundreds of water samples each year. The tables below and on the following page shows only those contaminates that were detected in Harwich water. The state requires us to monitor for certain substances less than once per year because the concentrations of these substances do not change frequently. In these cases, the most recent sample data are included.

The Harwich Water Department did not receive any drinking water violations in 2006.

Nitrate (ppm) 02/2006 10 10 2.8 .1 No Leaching from septic tanks, sewage; Erosion of natural deposits; Runoff from fertilizer use
Nitrite (ppm) 02/2005 1.0 1.0 <0.05 0.05 No Leaching from septic tanks, sewage; Erosion of natural deposits
Coliform (ppb) NA <1 0 NA 0 (highest # positive in a month) No Naturally occurring and present in the environment.
Coliform are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and indicate that other potentially harmful bacteria may be present.


Lead* (ppb) 15 ppb 0.015 0.01 54 2 No Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits; Leach from Wood preservatives
Copper 1.3 mg/l 1.3 1.1 54 5 No Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits
Because our Lead and Copper samples did not exceed action levels established by the state of Massachusetts in our tap water, we are not required to sample this coming year. We have not exceeded the state allowable action levels for two consecutive sample periods followed by three rounds of reduced sampling. Therefore our Department is now required to sample for Lead and Copper every three (3) years. The Department conducted its last round of sampling this year (2006) and will conduct its next round of sampling in 2009.

*Lead: Infants and young children are typically more vulnerable to lead in drinking water than the general population. It is possible that lead levels at your home may be higher than at other homes in the community as a result of materials used in your home's plumbing. If you are concerned about elevated levels in your home's water, you may wish to have your water tested and flush your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using tap water that has sat unused for awhile. Additional information is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800.426.4791.


SUBSTANCE (UNITS)YEAR SAMPLEDHIGHEST DETECT VALUERANGE LOW-HIGHAVERAGE DETECT VALUESMCL (Secondary Minimum Contaminant Level)ORSG (Massachusetts Office of Research and Standards Guidelines)
pH 10/2006 8 5.6-8.0 7.5 6.5-8.5 NA
Chloride 06/2006 33 11-28 22 250 ppm NA
Chloroform 10/2006 3.4   1.98 NA NA
Iron 10/2006 1.4 <0.01-1.20 0.1 0.30 ppm NA
Manganese 10/2006 .26 <0.01-0.32 .086 0.05 ppm NA
Radon* 03/1999 95(+/-36) 95 95 NA 10,000 pCi/l
Sodium 02/2006 .23 1.0 10.2 NA 20 ppm
Sulfate 10/2006 12 5.7-10.0 7.9 250 ppm NA
Radium-226 04/2005 0.0(+/-0.1) 0.1 0.1 5 pCi/l NA
Radium-228 04/2005 0.0(+/-0.4)   0.5 5 pCi/l NA
*Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot see, taste, or smell. It is found throughout the United States. Radon can move up through the ground and into a home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon can build up to high levels in all types of homes. Radon can also get into indoor air when released from tap water from showering, washing dishes, and other household activities. Compared to radon entering the home through soil, radon entering the home through tap water will in most cases be a small source of radon in indoor air. Radon is a known human carcinogen. Breathing air containing radon can lead to lung cancer. Drinking water containing radon can lead to lung cancer. Drinking water containing radon may also cause increase risk of stomach cancer. If you are concerned about radon in your home, test the air in your home. Testing is inexpensive and easy. Fix your home if the level of radon in your air is 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/l) or higher. There are simple ways to fix a radon problem that aren't too costly. For information, call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Radon Program at 413-586-7525 or call EPA's Radon Hotline( 800.SOS.RADON).

Table Definitions

90th Percentile: Out of every 10 homes sampled, 9 were at or below this level.

AL (Action Level): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.

MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level): 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 technology.

MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal): 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.

NA: Not applicable

ND: Not detected

pCi/l (picocuries per liter (a measure of radioactivity): One pCi is equal to the decay of about two radioactive atoms per minute.

ppb (parts per billion): One part substance per billion parts water (or micrograms per liter; ug/l)

ppm (parts per million): One part substance per million parts water (or milligrams per liter; mg/l)

Customer Reminders and Tips

  • Reminder to all "seasonal" accounts: To ensure your water is turned on or off prior to your arrival or departure, we require a minimum of a 2 week notice.
  • Customers are billed 2 times per year (Spring and Fall). Payment due date is 30 days from bill date. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding your bill.
  • Water bill payments should be made payable to the Town of Harwich and mailed to: Town of Harwich, Collector's Office, 732 Main St., Harwich MA 02645. Town Hall hours are Mondays from 8:30 a.m.--8 p.m.,Tuesdays--Thursdays from 8:30 a.m.--4:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:30 a.m.--Noon.
  • Online payments can be made on current balances by visiting our website at and following "ebill" link or going directly to
  • If you suspect you have a leak, the recommended thing to do is to contact a plumber, if you're a tenant, contact your landlord.
  • Press releases for scheduled projects will continue to be released via local papers; Cape Cod Chronicle & Harwich Oracle, radio stations; 99.9 WQRC and 106.1 WCOD, our community channel; Channel 18 and via our website.
  • Don't forget to contact our office for a water service markout if you're replacing bushes, putting in a new lawn, re-grading existing lawn, etc.
  • Voluntary water restriction will be in place again this summer. We urge residents to conserve water whenever possible.
  • We continue to chlorinate during the spring and fall hydrant flushing program.
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