The Town of Natick, which is in the midst of addressing elevated levels of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in its drinking water, has now declared a ban on non-essential outdoor watering. The town has been forced to do this by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Natick has turned off wells with elevated levels of these so-called “forever chemicals,” which can have harmful effects on people and the environment over time. In order to maintain its water supply in light of the contamination situation, as well as general drought conditions, the town is putting in place the ban that it says could last anywhere from 1 to 6 months.
Natick is getting plenty of company in addressing PFAS, and the state just announced $2M in grants to help communities with this issue (that’s not going to go far). Wellesley and other communities have been watching Natick as they formulate their plans.
“The mandatory non-essential outdoor water use ban will limit daily demand on the Natick water system to minimize PFAS exposure and ensure adequate water is available to meet the public health and safety needs of the Town. This measure will assist in maintaining water levels in the storage tanks for fire protection and normal consumption use,” according to the town.
So no in-ground irrigation/sprinklers or even garden hoses with attached sprinklers.
Here’s what you can use outdoor watering for, between the hours of 5pm and 9am:
- For health or safety reasons;
- By regulation;
- For the production of food and fiber; (yeah, yeah, I eat those dandelions…)
- For the maintenance of livestock;
- To meet the core functions of a business (for example, irrigation by golf courses as necessary to maintain tees and greens, and limited fairway watering,
- Irrigation by plant nurseries;
- Agricultural operations as necessary to maintain stock or establish new plantings,
- Wash equipment to prevent damage and/or maintain performance,
- Pest management
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