Select Board authorizes $1.2 million loan for clean water

Nov 4, 2019

Dartmouth will be borrowing nearly $1.3 million from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust for improvements to its water system after the Select Board voted to authorize the loan at a meeting on November 4.

The short-term loan of $1,297,895 will go towards an aeration system and improvements to water treatment in order to reduce levels of trihalomethane (TTHM) a byproduct of chlorine disinfectants — in the water.

Since testing for TTHMs began in 2012, five violations of drinking water standards have been detected in the town’s water supply.

A budget of $1.5 million was approved at Town Meeting in June 2017 to address the issue. An additional $250,000 was granted at Town Meeting in October 2018.

The funds were earmarked for a project to switch disinfectants from chlorine to chloramines, which don’t form the same byproducts, according to Director of Public Works David Hickox.

New Bedford has already changed its water supply disinfectant to chloramine.

Over many years, drinking TTHMs may result in liver, kidney, or central nervous system problems, or an increased risk of cancer.

The funds will be borrowed at a zero percent interest rate.

After the board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the loan, Select Board member Shawn McDonald noted that he was interested in meeting with the Department of Public Works and the Water Department to discuss their efforts to resolve the issue.

“My understanding is that another notice went out to the water users, and I believe TTHM was noted,” he said.

At the same meeting, Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes informed Select Board members that the North Dartmouth Library will begin moving books to its new Cross Road building on November 13 — but the opening day has yet to be set.

The new library building was planned from 2012 and approved at Town Meeting in 2016.

Ground was broken on the project in July 2018, and the building was slated to open this fall.

Director of Libraries Lynne Antunes said last week that the contractors are still putting the finishing touches on the new building.

The Select Board also approved conservation restrictions for Eva’s Organic Garden on Jordan Road and another agricultural property at 205 Bakerville Road, and granted a business licence for a used car dealership on 590 Dartmouth Street.