During Worcester’s 2016 drought Framingham company forced multiple shutdowns of reservoir while working at Worcester Regional Airport
During Worcester’s 2016 drought Framingham company forced multiple shutdowns of reservoir while working at Worcester Regional Airport.
One of Worcester’s water supply reservoirs was forced to shut down multiple times after a Framingham company violations of wetlands protection and water quality while performing construction work at Worcester Regional Airport, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
That company now must repay a $167,500 fine.
White Contracting Company began work at the airport in September 2016.
Portions of the site where the company worked were located in Leicester, within the watershed of drinking water supplies utilized by the city of Worcester, according to a statement from MassDEP.
White Contracting Co. was awarded the contract for improvements at the airport.
White failed to follow the approved plans and to implement effective erosion and sedimentation controls from September 2016 to May 2017, the statement said.
It resulted in about eight acres of unauthorized alterations to Bordering Vegetated Wetlands and forced the shut down of one of Worcester’s water supply reservoirs on several occasions because of elevated turbidity in the water.
The company is also required to monitor discharges when it rains more than a half-inch to make sure that turbid discharges do not continue to affect downstream wetland resources and the reservoir.
White’s actions over a prolonged period of time caused significant damage to wetland resource areas and affected the City of Worcester’s water supply reservoir," said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester.
Region: Drought conditions improve
Region: Drought conditions improve.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday indicates just less than half of Massachusetts, including northern sections of Worcester and Middlesex counties, is experiencing abnormally dry conditions.
Though the other half, which includes towns like Milford and Framingham, falls into the non-drought category, local officials say the change is not significant enough for them to roll back water restrictions in their communities.
In July last year, a startlingly low 0.87 inches of precipitation fell in Boston, whereas 3.62 inches have been recorded so far during this month alone.
The water level dropped steadily at Quabbin Reservoir from 92.4 percent capacity in June last year to a notably low 79.1 percent as of Jan. 1.
At Milford’s Echo Lake, officials measured 82.5 percent capacity Thursday, with a water line two inches below the spillway, according to David Condrey, director of the Milford Water Company.
“We’re just being very cautious.” The last time the lake reached full capacity was five years ago, he said.
“If we’re going to be very dry like last year it’s going to be very difficult for us to get there,” Condrey said.
Nonessential daytime outdoor watering will also be restricted in Upton from May 1 to Sept. 30, according to Department of Public Works Director Vincent Roy, who said the town’s water wells are in good shape.
“Talk to me in a month and it may be different,” Smith said.