Water

Mission


Our mission is to provide the Town with safe, potable drinking water through careful management and operation of the existing sources of water, and through ongoing maintenance and operation of the distribution system.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER

The Falmouth Water Department Did Not Meet the Department of Environmental Protection Treatment Requirements for the Turbidity of the Filtered Water from the Long Pond Water Treatment Plant On August 3rd , August 5th , August 6th, August 7th, August  8th ,August 18th  , August 19th, August 20th, August 21st, and August 22nd

Although this situation does not require that you take immediate action, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we did to correct this situation.

Our water system has a drinking water requirement for the filtered water at the Long Pond Water Treatment Plant to have a turbidity of 0.3 NTU or less.  Turbidity is a measurement of how cloudy the water is.  Since the Long Pond Treatment Plant was put into service we have consistently had water with a 0.1 or less value well below the 0.3 standard for filtration plants.   However, this summer was very hot and dry and the level of Long Pond dropped considerably and the water warmed up considerably.  The area experienced two heavy thunderstorm/rain events in August.  The algae population in Long Pond changed considerably due to these climatological events.  With the change in population the effectiveness of the algae removal process was impacted and we experienced several exceedances of the Turbidy measurement.  The maximum exceedance value was 0.62 NTU and the average for the month was 0.23 NTU.  As the month ended, and after corrective action was taken, the filtered water turbidity was consistently below 0.1 NTU.

We continuously measure and record turbidity at each step of the process and in particular at each of the four filters  Early in the month, when we first noticed a drop in the algae removal efficiency we proceeded to modify the process on a daily basis with the goal to restore the removal efficiency.  The in house changes we implemented were not fully effective and so we enlisted the assistance of an outside expert in the field of coagulation chemistry who assisted us in adjustments to the feed rate of the polyaluminum chloride compound that is in the algae removal process.  Those adjustments were effective and the desired level of treatment was restored as the month ended.

The final step in the treatment process in disinfection with chlorine.  As Turbidity increases more chlorine is required to achieve disinfection.  Disinfection levels were adjusted in response to the turbidity and we achieved all of our disinfection targets during August.  We test the effectiveness of the disinfection by measuring chlorine residuals at multiple locations in the system as well as test for the presence of bacteria.  We took 84 system samples throughout the month of August and we found no bacteria and measured an appropriate residual at all locations.  

What should you do?

  • There is nothing you need to do. You do not need to boil your water or take other actions. We do not know of any contamination, and none of our testing has shown disease-causing organisms in the drinking water.
  • If you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, are pregnant, or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your health care providers about drinking this water. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

What does this mean?

This is not an emergency.  If it had been, you would have been notified within 24 hours. Turbidity has no health effects.  However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth.  Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms.  These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. These symptoms are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact the Chief Operator, Mathew T Vezina at 508-457-2545, 416 Gifford Street, Falmouth MA, 02540, or email him at Mathew.Vezina@falmouthma.gov.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

This notice is being sent to you by Falmouth Water Department.  System ID#: 4096000

Date distributed: 09/17/2020




Irrigation Ban as of July 28, 2020


The use of automatic sprinkler systems (irrigation) is banned per Order of Selectman as of July 28, 2020.  Enforcement will begin public notification in the Enterprise on Friday July 31, 2020.  The ban is necessary as we are unable to provide safe and reliable water to our customers during the early morning hours when automatic sprinkler usage is most common.  With the heat this summer and customers staying at home demand is 20% greater than last summer and we are utilizing all our sources, as well as storage from the tanks in the early hours of the day.  Customers will receive a warning on first offense and water service will be shut off on subsequent offenses.  Hand held watering of plants is not prohibited.  Private wells that supply an irrigation system, registered with the Board of Health are also exempt from the ban.  The ban will be lifted once the department sees that usage has returned to normal and sustainable levels.  We are sorry for any inconvenience.

​​Water Bills   (5/21/20)
The May water bills have been mailed out and you may be noticing that the bills look different from the water bills you have received in the past.   That is because we are utilizing a third party billing system and this is the first complete billing with the new system.  We have had a couple of glitches that we are working on correcting.  The biggest one is that if you got a new meter installed during the last 6 months the bill you received is only showing water used up to the date the meter was changed.  We have mailed a notice to all that were affected with the correct amount to be paid.  For a detailed guide to what each of the items on the bill represent and how to check the calculations that are used to determine the amount used and amount owed please follow the link: http://www.falmouthmass.us/1026/Water-and-Sewer-Billing-Information

COVID-19


The water department has taken precautions in the face of the COVID-19 threat to minimize the risk to staff and to optimize our resources to operate the system and to repair any leaks that occur during this period of social distancing and self quarantine.   With our state of the art treatment plant, utilizing both ozone and hypochlorite as a disinfectant, we destroy all virus and bacteria, including COVID-19 - the water is safe to drink.  We are continuing to sample the water system at multiple locations in accordance with our sampling program.  We ask that you do all requests and or communications with this department by phone, or email as our facilities are closed to the public at this time.  

Backflow Prevention - Public Notice (2/13/20)

 Homeowners need to be sure that if they have underground irrigation that there is an approved backflow device between the water supply and the irrigation system.  For more info contact our backflow coordinator Mr. Kyle Swanstrom at Kyle.Swanstrom@Falmouthma.gov .

Water Quality - Lead and Copper (7/12/19)


Every Spring and Fall the Water Department, as part of its corrosion control program, samples the tap water at selected homes for lead and copper.   sixty homes need to be sampled to have a large enough sample set to be statistically valid.   We are looking for homeowners that are willing to participate in the sampling program.  Your home must have been constructed prior to 1983 to be eligible.   Interested? Email(falmouthleadsampling@falmouthma.gov).   We will provide you with additional information and would want to conduct a visit to confirm that your piping has lead based solder.

Lead is not from the source water, but is present in the piping in older homes and may leach into the water if the water is stagnant for a long period of time.  For more detailed information open and read the documents on the right titled "Sampling for lead at your house's tap" and the 2017 public education brochure - lead". 

Water Supply -  (7/12/19)


Your water is supplied from several sources. To see a map click on the document link for Water Resource Areas on the right side of this page.  There is also a graphic "2019 Water Pumped by Source" that shows which sources supply water and how much on a month by month basis
  • Long Pond  is a protected surface water reservoir. It is our primary sources, and has been since 1898.  During the summer of 2019 it supplied over 80% of our daily water needs.
  • The Crooked Pond Water Plant treats water from both the Crooked Pond Well and the Coonamessett Well and provided 16.7% of the water in 2018.
  • Mares Pond Well provided  3.0% of our water in 2018.
  • From the Upper Cape Regional Water Co-op, we obtain water from wells located on the northern side of the Cape. In 2018 the Town obtained 10.8% of the total supply from this source.

Water Treatment (5/17/18)


All sources are disinfected with sodium hypochlorite and treated with sodium hydroxide to provide pH adjustment. The average pH of the water in the system is approximately 8.0.   Water  delivered to your residence through our transmission and storage system, comprised of 398 miles of water main, 4 water storage tanks and approximately 22,000 service connections.