(Questions 1, 3, and 4 were addressed during the Water Forum)
- On brown water timeline: My understanding is that Randolph neglected to flush pipes for about 10 years (is that figure right?) and restarted the flushing program a few years ago, and now we're "playing catch-up." How many more years should we expect the catchup to take? In other words, in what year will the flushing program be just "business-as-usual" (which we all understand might mean occasional brown water when our neighborhood is being flushed). Presumably the catchup won't be done until after the new water plant is online, and the new water plant won't affect the flushing program, right?
- On brown water in apartment complexes: Current DPW policy is that when people who live in housing complexes call about brown water, DPW notes that the town's responsibility ends where the water pipes enter private property. Numerous residents at Rosemont Square, for example, report exactly that response. While that response is legally true, it is irrelevant. When people in single-family homes call about brown water, the DPW investigates where the nearest flushing is taking place, and remedies any problem. The same rule should apply to housing complexes. Could we change the DPW policy to investigate first, and dismiss as "housing complex private property" only after investigation?
- On PFAS: Could you please confirm these cost and time estimates for installing a PFAS filter: Randolph & Holbrook would have to spend about $2.5 million for filters, including a new building to house them; they would be used for about 2.5 years until the new water treatment plant replaces them with new PFAS filters. In other words, we'd have to spend, with Holbrook, about $1 million per year, which comes to $25 per person per year. If those figures are inaccurate, could you please adjust them to come up with an annual per-capita cost? And then, if the people of Randolph and Holbrook are willing to accept that cost, when can we start construction?
- On a filtered water station: The Town Manager reported to the Town Council that a "filler-up" station would be installed soon -- could we please get a date for its installation? During the Town Council discussion, we established that the setup cost would be about $60,000 for providing PFAS-free filtered water, and that there was no change in the cost if hundreds of people used it, so there was no reason to restrict who could use it. Could we get a commitment that the "filler-up" station will be available to anyone feeling they need it, and not just to people considered "vulnerable"? Could we also get a commitment that the installation will start immediately, and not wait for any grant application response, nor any other state orders?
Jesse's notes from the Forum
(I'll improve these notes over the next few days; these are my "live" notes while watching the Forum)
Q: Why are only those 6 PFAS compounds measured and regulated?
A: from MassDEP: We could measure 18 more but we're limited in technical ability. Also there are no studies on other compounds. The science is having a hard time keeping up -- many of the related compounds are banned in MA already but still imported. What we can do right now is focus on the compounds we know a lot about -- and chemically-related compounds -- so we are capturing data on compounds of concern. Maybe not all, but treatment of the known 6 PFAS should affect other lesser-known compounds too.
Q: Is there a connection between blood levels of PFAS and risk of COVID infections?
A: (Brian] Not aware of any.
A: MA Dep: Suppression of immunization is associated with PFAS exposure. Nothing in particular for COVID-19
Q: Is Poland Springs (or any bottled water) any safer?
A: Brian: They're not regulated in the same fashion.
MADep Kathleen Baskin: Bottled water isn't regulated by MA-DEP but is reg'ed by MA Dept of Public Health -- and DPH does require testing for PFAS6 annually. You should be able to get info on that from DPH. Some bottling companies have done this work in advance of the regulations -- on MA website.
A: Brian: Rocky Mt (Wendy's bubbler) does post PFAS info on website.
Q: How often is water tested? And posted?
A: We've been posting regularly. "Councilor Gordon has been ensuring that we post it often".
[TBD: Get exact quote at 7:20 -- and link to original 2019 water quality testing pages]
Q: What about sources of PFAS?
MA-DEP on industrial sources -- [TBD -- listen to this section again -- 7:28 -- I think this should be our next big discussion -- where does the PFAS in our reservoir come from? Runoff? Local industry? far-away industry? or what?]
Q: I live on Mill Street, not scheduled for flushing until spring 2022. Since it's cool now and rainy ,why not do more now?
A: Andrew Dennehy: We flush in the fall and the spring, and that's the conventional wisdom. No one would ever recommend flushing in July.
A: Brian: When the opportunity exists, like on side streets, we try to push the limits. We have to balance the full needs of the system.
A: Dennehy: Program is set up over a period of several weeks to get complete flushing. It's not just a one-day item to flush for one day because it's raining.
Q: (David Mulligan) $68M total cost may go up due to COVID costs and also because of timeframe slowing due to COVID?
A: Helen Gordon: Definitely some delays due to equipment; very specialized equipment. Some projects are delayed by up to 3 months. Depends on how many projects come out to bid at the same time. We'll be looking closely -- we're still running around on costs. Subaqueous materials worse than plant construction itself. We'll have a better idea in a few months on construction costs as well as deadlines. '
Q: What plant costs will get passed to residents?
A: Brian: TC voted on this issue; yes, water rates go into reserve funds. Mass Clean Water Trust funding rates mean the difference between $11M and $4M in interest fees, if we borrow the rest. We're applying for grants too. If there are grants for this plant, whatever we can do, we're gonna do. So many moving parts -- hard to answer at this time.
On kiosk-based system: Brian: we're ahead of the curve on this -- so we can offer it.
[TBD - Brian cited my question #2 at 7:48 PM on the kiosk -- I think he went on record saying "yes we'll do it" -- and I think the term "kiosk" is better than "filler-up station"!]
Millie Gacia-Serrano on PFAS safety level = 90 nanogram / liter = 90 ppt.
Q: Q from Brian: People want to know about health levels -- how long would it take, over years, for PFAS to make you sick? Is there an exact way to answer that question?
A: Millie: 20 ppt is a non-cancer risk. There's more epidemiological research coming -- the science is changing. We're working as fast as we can on fluorinated compounds.
A: James McLaughlin: that level was set considering your entire exposure to PFAS -- it's a conservative leve -- you get PFAS from your food too, e.g. So 20 ppt is a lifetime exposure that would not elevate any risk to your health for most people.
Q: Where can we get racial demographics from across state on towns' age of water treatment plants?
A: Millie: 473 public water supplies in MA -- we could identify that, but we'd need time.
A: James -- Randolph-Holbrook has the oldest water treatment plant active in the state (! TBD - get exact quote here, and let's follow up -- is that literally true? Can't we get a state grant for the PFAS filler-up station because of that?!) -- a testament to the workers of the 1930s that it still lives up to modern requirements.
Q: Do car washes drain into reservoir and add to PFAS?
A: [TBD listen to section again - basic answer was "No"]
Q: [Jesse question #3 mentioned at 8:23 TBD link to final policy later] -- How much cost, and how long to install interim PFAS filter?
A: Helen Gordon: We'd need structural analysis of basins, as well as design -- yes, a two-year period form start to finish. What Braintree did -- they changed filtration media to GAC -- we cannot -- all 8 filters [unclear on this]. Yes, a year or two after that, you'll have a new water plant up and running.
A: Brian: "Jesse's math is $25 per head per year" [TBD link to Jesse question 3 and show the math!] -- Brian's math comes to $135 per person per year -- like what Easton did -- they supplied water to anyone who wants under 20 ppt. We have 9500 households -- that's the real target -- and we'd have to get Holbrook and Braintree in on it.
Jesse's notes from Facebook discussion
Please attend the 2021 Water Forum! Thursday July 29, 2021, at 6 PM. (with same "brown water" picture as shown above)
Where did your sample of water pictured above come from ? I have never seen water like that come from my faucets except for a short time after they flush the lines.
From a Randolph tap on May 14 2021 -- we reported it to the DPW at that time. It took them a couple days to fix it, so I kept a sample for illustrative purposes.
@Jesse Gordon, what was the cause?
Local fire / broken water main / flushing in area ?
It was from a flushing on that street -- in precinct 3 just south of Crawford Square -- with one valve inappropriately on because, DPW reported, the map was incorrect. They corrected the valve, after we reported the water shown above, so it shouldn't be so bad in the next flushing.
Sad/frustrated that we were only given two days notice for this meeting. 🙁
Lori Tsuruda why are you frustrated you have two days notice? It will be recorded and replayed over and over and over?
@Brian Howard, It won't be very interactive if most people watch it after the fact or cannot ask questions after the fact. Otherwise, they might as well submit a written report that you translate into multiple languages and post on the town website.
@Lori Tsuruda, plus you can submit questions, which you did below?
@Brian Howard, Throwing together questions to submit late at night the night before after a long work day is not a best practice if one wants to ask good questions.
@Lori Tsuruda, we sent the message out to 10,000 plus people on email. This page has over 10,000 viewers. It will be be on RCTV, live streamed in the Washington Room, Facebook live and on Zoom. You can literally watch the meeting on your IPad or IPhone sitting by a pool if someone wanted to do so. Pretty cool and extremely convenient if you ask me.
These are the questions that I submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org :
- Why can't the water department treat our water so that there is much less (magnesium-iron) sediment accumulating that ruins our pipes, water heaters, other major appliances, small appliances, toilets, grout, stainless steel items, and even clothing/laundry?
- Will the town reimburse homeowners for the aforementioned damages/major appliance replacements?
- Will the town reimburse/subsidize residents installing their own water treatment systems to reduce magnesium, chlorine, and PFAS6 since it will be many years before any new water treatment facility is completed?
- I live in the "Terraces" area off of Mill Street, which I understand is the last section of town scheduled for unidirectional flushing. As such, despite reported problems, the Terraces will likely not receive unidirectional flushing until spring 2022. With the record rainfall this month and now cooler weather, why can't the town continue/finish unidirectional flushing right now so we won't have to wait nearly a year longer?
- What was the average PFAS6 level for quarters 1 and 2 of 2021?
Was it above20 ng/L?
If the quarterly average exceeds the state standard, what do the state regulations mandate?
These are the questions I submitted .
Water treatment plant Questions
- The pre covid19 project estimate was 68 million +/-
- With the increase in material cost how accurate is the pre covid19 estimate?
- Is it realistic to expect a 75-80 million dollar price tag for the project?
- With delays in manufacturing and back ordered equipment world wide, in some instances 6 - 9 months behind or longer are you expecting to stay on schedule with the construction timeline?
- Will a penalty clause be written into the contract ?
Example $10,000.00 a day late fee fine to the GC to be deducted off the finial payment apon completion.
- We dont want to end up like Braintree with the construction of the Peterson pool project.
What will the typical increase cost per homeowner be per water bill per year ?
- Will the project be given any Federal grant $$$$$ ?
Design questions :
- Will Braintree electric be the only provider of power to the pumping station or will National grid also provide a 2nd backup power supply source ?
- Will the pumping station have emergency generators?
- Will those generator be natural gas or diesel fuel with fuel storage tank?
- Will there be any solar or renewable energy be involved in the project?
- Psta filtration will it be a carbon filter technology?
- What is the expected Psta PPB after filtration .
These are all great questions. Hopefully they will all be answered.
[Above] are the four questions I submitted in advance; three of them were addressed during the Forum. I'll post comments on the original website linked above. I'd like to hear feedback on my question 4, making free PFAS-filtered water available to all.
Invitation to the Water Forum
The Town of Randolph
Community Informational Meeting on Water
Thursday, July 29th at 6:00pm
A panel of industry experts will present on PFAS, the Water Treatment Plant, the Water Distribution System and the Unidirectional Flushing Program.
The panelists will be representatives from MassDEP, Environmental Partners, BETA Engineering, and the Town of Randolph.
This meeting will be held virtually both by Zoom and RCTV (Comcast, Channel 9; Verizon, Channel 29). The zoom meeting will feature live translations in Haitian-Creole and Vietnamese.
If you do not have access to Zoom or RCTV, please join us for a live stream in the Washington Room at the Town Hall.
Zoom link: https://bit.ly/RandolphWater
Do you have questions for the Water Panelists? Please email: email@example.com
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jul 29, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: The Town of Randolph Community Informational Meeting on Water
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or One tap mobile :
US: +16465588656,,82815438307# or +13017158592,,82815438307#
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799
Webinar ID: 828 1543 8307