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City of Barre Water Quality Report 2016

What could we expect to find in our water?

As water travels over the surface of land or through the ground it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and in some cases radioactive material. It can also pick up substances resulting from human activity or from the presence of animals.

Contaminants that may be present in source water include:

Microbial contaminants: such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife;
Inorganic contaminants: like salts and metals, which can occur naturally or result from domestic waste water discharges and agricultural uses;
Pesticides and Herbicides: that may come from agriculture and residential uses;
Organic chemical contaminants: that include synthetic and volatile compounds coming from septic tanks and careless disposal of household chemicals, and
Radioactive contaminants: that occur naturally.

Who makes the decisions about our water?

Our City Council. We encourage public interest and participation in our community’s decisions that affect drinking water.

How is this done?

By attending the Council meetings on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m., in City Hall, Council Chambers, at 6 North Main Street, when there are water related issues on the agenda. The Saturday edition of our local newspaper publishes a notice of these meetings.

Health Information

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) establishes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in drinking water, thus providing the consumer with water that is both palatable and potable (safe). Also, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) promulgates rules and restrictions that limit contaminants in the bottled water industry in order to provide the same protection for the general public.

All drinking water, including bottled water, may contain small amounts of contaminants. Their presence does not always mean that water poses a health risk. However, some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general public. Immunocompromised persons with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, who have had organ transplants, who suffer from HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders may be more susceptible to infections. Other groups at greater risk to infections would be the elderly and infant populations. These people should seek advice from their health care provider.

You can contact EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 for more information about contaminants in drinking water and their potential health effects. Their guidelines will provide measures to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other microbial contaminants.

Why are we telling you this?

This is an annual report on the quality of water delivered by the City of Barre. It meets the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirement for “Consumer Confidence Reports” and contains information on the source of our water, what’s in the water and the health risks associated with any contaminants that may be present. Safe water is vital to our community. Please read this report carefully. If you have any questions, you may call the Water Filtration Facility 476-6885.

Where does our drinking water come from?

The City of Barre’s water supply is located in the Town of Orange. The surface water fed by streams and springs is stored in three impoundments known as The Thurman W. Dix Reservoir and the Upper and Lower Reservoirs. The Dix Reservoir, designed in 1950, holds almost all (93%) of the raw untreated water.

To help protect the area around the reservoirs, known as the watershed, Barre has developed a Source Protection Plan that was approved by the State of Vermont on Dec. 29, 1997, April 2008, 2011 and December 2015.  The area totaling 11.1 square miles is broken down into three zones based on distance from the surface water supply.

The Plan provides a more comprehensive look at the possible sources of contamination within our watershed.

The 6 million gallon per day water treatment facility receives water directly from the Lower Orange Reservoir. Our treatment process reduces or eliminates turbidity, bacteria, viruses, parasites, color, taste, odor and organics.

The finished water is transported from the facility to the distribution system via a 20” cast iron water main. The system is comprised of two different zones known as the high and low pressure areas. These areas provide water for approximately 15,000 customers.

Highlights of 2016

Public Notice - Permit to Operate Issued December 17, 2013: The Water System is required to notify all users of the following compliance schedule contained in the Permit to Operate issued by the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources:

1. On or before September 1, 2014, if the Permittee shall: a. Modify all in-home booster pumping systems to meet the Secretary’s design standards, including a properly located and sized air gap, and obtain the Secretary’s approval for each in-home booster pumping system;
A time extension was requested from the Vermont Water Supply Division. The requested extension to May 31, 2015 was due to two in home booster systems that did not have adequate time to complete the required tank overflow piping.
All privately owned systems have complied. Annual inspections by Facility Operators will be conducted after the spring thaw.

2. The Facility produced 492.75 gallons. Production averaged 1.35 million gallons per day.
In October we started monthly untreated water monitoring for the parasitic organisms cryptosporidium, giardia and E coli. Monthly monitoring is for a period of 24 consecutive months.
Key maintenance activities include: Replacement of stand by generator #1 inner cooler and turbo charger, replaced pre-treatment chemical powdered activated carbon venturi inductor, Replaced lab bench top turbidimeter, Upgraded faulty radio telemetry system in order to reliably communicate with remote sites.
• If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The City of Barre is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water hotline or at

Key to Water Quality Data Table

*The Water System is responsible for the collection of a minimum of 15 bacteriological samples per month.