- Last Updated: 25 June 2015
- Hits: 33
The Board of Water Commissioners have set the FY2016 water rates. The new rate schedule is available online and includes an 18% increase in the water rate.
Two sources of information are used to determine the water rates. The first is the Water Department's FY2016 budget that was approved by Town Meeting in May 2015. The second part is how much water we expect to sell in the coming year. The sales forecast is a conservative estimate because any revenue shortfalls must be covered by tax revenue. We look at recent production data and develop an estimate of the minimum amount of water that will be consumed during the fiscal year and adjust the rates to generate the revenue needed to fund the budget.
This year's rate increase is largely driven by the increase in the Water Department's reserve fund. This part of the budget was increased in preparation for capital projects and associated long-term bond payments. Rather than having variable and sometimes extremely large rate increases as the projects progress, the Water Commissioners have elected to have smaller, regular rate increases to smooth out the effects of the projects and make the increases more predictable. It is anticipated that water rates will increase by 20% each year over the next several years.
- Last Updated: 26 May 2015
- Hits: 144
The Topsfield Water Department has implemented a Mandatory Outdoor Water Use Restriction effective May 26, 2015 due to very low Ipswich River stream flow.
Outdoor water use is restricted to hand-held implements only before 9 AM and after 5 PM. The use of irrigations systems at any time is prohibited. The restrictions apply to public water customers and private well owners.
In addition to curtailing outdoor use the Water Department encourages the following conservation measures:
- Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when full.
- Fix any leaks around the house.
- Install water efficient toilets, faucets and shower heads.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, rather than running the faucet.
- Consider replacing water intensive lawns with a xeriscape (low water demand) flower garden.
The mandatory restrictions will be in effect until further notice but typically run through the end of September. Our water withdrawal permit issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection requires the implementation of this restriction when Ipsich River average daily flow at the Ipswich Gauge Station falls below 52.5 cubic feet per second for three consecutive days.
- Last Updated: 13 May 2015
- Hits: 187
One of the common questions we receive is "How does my water use compare to the average home?". Answering the question is not easy because volumes used by single family homes can vary over a wide range and depend on the number of occupants, water use habits, irrigation habits, etc. We analyzed the monthly water use records for the past 5 years for 1,582 single family home connected to our water system. The following table displays the results and attempts to give an idea of how water is used in the Town.
Single Family Home
Monthly Water Use in Average Gallons Per Day
- Last Updated: 29 April 2015
- Hits: 1791
May 1st marks the beginning of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's summer regulatory period. Our water withdrawal permit requires us to implement outdoor water use restrictions when Ipswich River stream flow falls below certain levels from May 1st through September 30th. The permit also restricts the amount of water we can pump during this period to an average of 0.55 million gallons per day.
Stream flow is measured at the United States Geological Survey's gauge station located just downstream of the dam near Foote Brothers Canoe Rental in Ipswich. Click here to view a full screen version of the chart.
A voluntary outdoor water use restriction is required if the average daily stream flow at the Ipswich Gauge drops below 70 cubic feet per second for three consecutive days. If the average daily stream flow continues to drop and falls below 52.5 cubic feet per second for three consecutive days then a mandatory restriction is required. The restrictions stay in effect until stream flow recovers and is above the trigger point for at least 10 consecutive days.
- Last Updated: 30 June 2015
- Hits: 4623
We test our sources for total manganese on a monthly basis. The results of these tests will be posted on this page as they become available. All results are shown in micrograms per Liter unless otherwise noted. The value shown is the average for the month if multiple samples were taken.
Please review the public notice that was sent to our customers in November 2013 to see how these levels compare to guidance from MassDEP. Manganese levels typically decline as water moves futher away from the sources because it precipitates out of solution and coats the pipe walls. Although system levels are normally low (<300 micrograms per Liter) this level can easily be exceeded when sediment in water mains and home plumbing lines is disturbed.
A system map (14 MB) showing the test sites and water mains is available to help customers determine which sampling sites are closest to their homes.
- Last Updated: 25 June 2015
- Hits: 939
The Town recently hired Woodard & Curran to fill the role of Owner's Project Manager for the Water Treatment Plant Project. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires an OPM for building construction projects that exceed 1.5 million dollars. The initial schedule calls for the design and bidding to be completed ahead of the May 2016 Annual Town Meeting where the Town will be asked to appropriate construction funding. If approved the plant will open during the summer or fall of 2017.
June 2015 Update: Wright-Pierce ranked as the most qualifeid firm and the Town is negotiationg a contract for the design of the plant.
May 2015 Update: Four engineering firms submitted qualifications for the water treatment plant design contract. We are reviewing the qualifications and will be selecting a firm to design the plant.
- Last Updated: 20 November 2013
- Hits: 5979
Drinking Water Advisory - Important information about manganese in your drinking water
Manganese is a nutrient that is part of a healthy diet. Drinking water may naturally contain manganese and, when concentrations are greater than 50 micrograms per Liter (µg/L), the water may be discolored and taste bad. Over a lifetime, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that people drink water with manganese levels less than 300 µg/L and over the short term, EPA recommends that people limit their consumption of water with levels over 1,000 µg/L, primarily due to concerns about possible neurological effects. Children up to 1 year of age should not be given water with manganese over 300 µg/L nor should formula for infants be made with that water for longer than 10 days.
Both of our water sources have exceeded the 300 µg/L threshold within the last year. The most recent test results show our source located on Perkins Row contains 394 µg/L of manganese; levels have varied between 150 µg/L and 370 µg/L in 2013 with an average of 313 µg/L. The most recent test result for our source located on North Street contains 94 µg/L; levels have varied between 70 µg/L and 1,270 µg/L during 2013 with an average of 391 µg/L.
- Last Updated: 29 October 2013
- Hits: 2645
What is a cross connection? It's an actual or potential connection between a potable water line and any waste pipe, soil pipe, sewer, drain or other unapproved source. These connections pose a threat to public health by allowing contaminants to be siphoned or forced into the public drinking water system under certain hydraulic conditions.
In a residential setting, cross connections include submerged hoses, lawn irrigation systems, chemical spray applicators, connections to private wells, boilers, solar heating systems and fire sprinkler systems. These connections, if left unprotected, could introduce contaminants to the water system. Consumers play an important role in protecting public health by notifying the Water Department of any cross connections and helping to eliminate or properly protect the connection by installing a backflow prevention device.