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Report on Water Quality

The following summarizes the drinking water quality provided during 2008.  It includes information regarding the source of your drinking water, what it contains, what other sources of water may contain, and how our water compares to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards.   We invite customer questions or comments.  Contact the Director of Water Treatment and Resources at 508-324-2725.


Last year we did thousands of tests for water quality, both on the water as produced in the treatment plant, and as taken from consumer taps.  During these tests, and with the exception noted below, we detected no unacceptable levels of contaminants in the water supplied to you.  In 2008 we experienced two “Tier 2” and one “Tier 1” violations.  A “Tier 2” violation occurs when we do not comply with some regulation applicable to us, but does not constitute an immediate threat to health.  Our Tier 2 violations were for late filing of water quality information in April 2007, and for exceeding secondary standards for Total Organic Carbon in March and June of 2007.  A “Tier 1” violation includes “failure to comply with an applicable maximum contaminant level (MCL) or maximum residual disinfectant level (MRDL)”.  We exceeded an MCL in one “repeat” test for E. coli bacteria in July.  Public Notice of this Tier 1 event was issued to TV, radio and newspaper on July 11, 2008. The Notice included the relevant information, including that the issue was resolved to the satisfaction of the Mass DEP.


SOURCES: Drinking water for the City of Fall River is obtained from the North Watuppa Pond. When needed, supplementary water is pumped from Copicut Reservoir into the watershed of the North Watuppa, from which it flows into the North Watuppa Pond via King Phillip and Blossom Brooks.  The City also has additional water resources not currently used for drinking water. These include the South Watuppa Pond, Terry Brook Reservoir, Sawdy and Devol Ponds, and Lake Noquochoke.  In summary, Fall River has an abundant water supply.


These water resources, secured by our ancestors, will be very valuable commodities in the future. Current State Regulations from the Office of Dam Safety require that work be performed on the dams and control structures associated with these ponds, and work has commenced.


QUANTITY: We deliver about 10,000,000 gallons of water per day to the City.  This includes water supplied to residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial customers; and for fire protection.  In addition, about 600,000 gallons per day is sold to the neighboring communities of Tiverton, Westport and Freetown. 


The maximum capacity of the water treatment facility at the North Watuppa Pond is 24,000,000 gallons per day of finished water.  The processes carried out there include disinfection by chlorination, removal of solids contaminants by flocculation/sedimentation, and filtration through sand and carbon for “polishing” and taste and odor removal.  In addition, we add carbon dioxide gas to reduce pipe corrosion.  The water distribution system contains seven storage tanks, and over 250 miles of distribution pipeline.