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Town, DEP dicker over water bans

Kalinowski decries state's 'broad brush approach'

May 26, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Are future water bans in store for Southbridge?

It's not likely this summer, but maybe next year or later, if the town can't convince the state to bend on what DPW Director Ken Kalinowski calls a "broad brush approach" to water conservation.

"It makes no sense for towns with one or two wells to have the same limits as a town like Southbridge with a watershed of thousands of acres," he said. "I understand the long-term [concerns], but it really seems draconian."

At issue is a potential requirement of the town's request to expand its Water Management Act permit from 2 million gallons daily to 4.49 MGD. According to Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Ed Colletta, the agency wants such permits to include one of two kinds of outdoor water use bans — either a mandatory ban, or one that's triggered by the water level in the local river or other major water source. To make it more complex, the former is determined by the town's current water use; If it's under 65 gallons per person per day (gpd), the mandatory ban would run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily May to September (but anytime before or after those times), but if the use is above that level, residents would only be allowed to use water outdoors on two designated summer days a week, Colletta said.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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