New Outdoor Water Use Restrictions Implemented Due to Drought Conditions
Mayor Donna Holaday and Water Treatment Superintendent Tom Cusick are pleased to report that the algae blooms on the Upper and Lower Artichoke Reservoirs have been safely treated and eradicated.
The Upper and Lower Artichoke Reservoirs, the primary sources of drinking water for the City of Newburyport and portions of Newbury and West Newbury, were found to have a cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (CyanoHAB) in mid-August. These organisms are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health.
Once the bloom was discovered, both reservoirs were treated with Copper Sulfite over a three week period by the City’s Department of Public Services — Water Division in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The bloom was continually tested during treatment and there were never any levels of toxins found in the bloom. The drinking water supply was monitored and tested during this time as well, and was not affected by the bloom or the treatment.
Some restrictions were placed on non-essential water uses when the bloom was discovered.
“The DPS Water Division worked quickly to identify the bloom and implement a treatment plan with the help of MassDEP and several limnologists with expertise in bloom treatment,” Mayor Holaday said. “Throughout this whole period, they safely operated our water treatment plant, keeping our drinking water safe and protecting the health of our residents. Thank you to everyone who worked efficiently and quickly to solve this problem.”
“Fortunately we had protocols in place that allowed us to quickly identify and address the algae bloom,” Superintendent Cusick said. “We are continuing to find ways to improve our operations, and implement short and long term strategies to prevent future algae blooms.”
Updated Water Restrictions
Though algae bloom has been eradicated, water restrictions remain in place due to the drought conditions the entire state is experiencing.
Outdoor watering will be allowed from 6-9 a.m. and 6-9 p.m. an odd-even day schedule based on the resident’s home address. This means that homes with odd numbered addresses will be able to conduct outdoor watering on days that end with odd numbers, and those with even numbered addresses will be able to conduct outdoor watering on days that end with even numbers.
These restrictions are necessary to ensure ample water supply for the community. Water restriction will remain until further notice.