HANSON — The town’s Water Department is working to inform residents — specifically abutters — of plans and progress in the effort to secure future water supplies for Hanson residents.
Water Commissioners Don Howard, Gil Amado and Don Harvey met with a group of concerned residents to address questions and concerns about proposed new town wells on Wednesday, April 4 in a session broadcast by Whitman-Hanson Cable Access TV.
The project is expected to take about a year.
“I’m a water man,” said Howard, who had worked in the field beginning in 1957 and has served five terms as a water commissioner. “Hanson is fortunate now to have two watersheds,” the Taunton since 1982 and the North River.
There are four town wells sunk into the Taunton where water was pumped directly into the water main, until the million-gallon tank was placed off High Street in 1999 to maintain constant pressure.
Two new wells are planned for a watershed off East Washington Street that empties into the Indian Head River, a brook in that area runs 365 days a year, Howard said.
“We’re doing this now to pump out of two watersheds,” Howard said. “That way it will be easier on the aquifers that are under the ground.”
Howard stressed emphatically that no private land in the area would be touched for the project. The entire project will be on conservation land.
“If there’s no water from the wells, the people that live in the area are going to have a walkway,” he said of the 12-foot wide gravel access road that would connect to other trails there now. “But hopefully we’re going to windup getting a couple nice wells in there.”
Doug Martin of CDM Smith engineering consultants said two studies had already been done on new water sources in 1993 and ’94. There must be 400 feet of conservation, or pristine land, around each wellhead.
Two other areas considered, one near Hanson Middle School, were too close to septic systems or not entirely on public lands.
The location now looked to, area five, showed groundwater in an area that met the other criteria. The property was then surveyed to determine the best access route, flag wetlands and inventoried trees to determine which trees could be removed. That survey located a Colonial-era red oak, which required remapping the access road.
Water quantity and quality must be studied next to determine if wells could be placed.
Residents’ concerns centered on the location of the access road, the type of road being put in and its ability to bear the load of drilling rigs, grade changes, and the extent of future vehicle access needed on the road.
Martin said that, while in some places grade will need to be changed a bit, it would follow the natural contours of the land as closely as possible. No other traffic besides maintenance vehicles will be permitted on the road.
The two well systems would work cooperatively with each other to keep the water tank full.
“By pumping out of two aquifers, you’re pumping less water out of each one, and it makes it better for the system,” Howard said.
“The town of Hanson needs a second water source,” Amado agreed. “If anything happens to our existing source — like it did before — we have to go on Brockton water. That’s the only backup we have.”
Brockton water is also expensive. Two years ago it cost Hanson $330,000 to go on Brockton water for three months while the inside of the water tank was painted. Electricity charges for Hanson to pump its own water for that period of time would be $30,000, Howard said. More water would also mean a more effective hydrant-flushing program, he argued.
Amado said the town is committed to the project with the best available engineers working on it.
Conservation Commission Chairman Phil Clemons said the Water Commissioners came to his board early on to discuss its plan to increase the town’s water security and to gain the ConCom’s help in deciding on a location with the least impact on wetlands and other natural resources. The Conservation Commission has continued to keep in close communication on the proposal.
“There’s pretty good water quality in the area and we agreed that it made sense to look there,” Clemons said. “One of the reasons to conserve land as open space and wetlands and all, is for the purpose of protecting water supply. … Why would you protect a water supply and then never, ever consider using it?”
He also agreed a second well field would ease pressure on current water systems as well as the aquifer.