For Immediate Release - December 17, 2013

Auburn Water District Assessed $13,800 Penalty, Must Construct Treatment Facility to Resolve Arsenic Violations of State Drinking Water Regulations

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $13,800 penalty to the Auburn Water District for violations of the Massachusetts Drinking Water regulations that occurred at their public water supply that serves the Town of Auburn.

From May 2012 to March 2013, MassDEP identified numerous violations of the standard, or Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), for arsenic in two of the 12 drinking water sources that serve the town. The town and MassDEP have entered into a consent order that establishes an enforceable schedule to design and construct a treatment facility for the removal of arsenic, iron and manganese from the West Street Wells #11 and #12.

The water district removed the West Street wells from service on May 15, 2013 and will keep them offline until MassDEP grants activation approval of the new treatment facility. The water district also agreed to obtain written approval from MassDEP, and provide timely public notice to residents of any arsenic standard exceedances in the event the wells must be used prior to the completion of the treatment facility.

MassDEP also required that the water district pay $5,000 of the assessed penalty, but suspended the remaining penalty as long as there are no further violations and the treatment facility work is completed.

"The state arsenic standard is established to protect the public health and provide safe drinking water to consumers," said Lee Dillard Adams, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. "The town is constructing upgrades to the treatment facility in order to assure that quality water is provided to consumers in Auburn."

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.