North Adams officials say city water regularly tested


NORTH ADAMS — With other towns in the region and across the country grappling with contamination issues, city officials want to assure residents that its surface water is regularly tested.

Councilor Joshua Moran, in response to concerns raised by city residents, checked in with city officials regarding where the city gets its water from and how often it relies on water taken from a well.

City officials assured the Council at its Tuesday meeting that, unlike the nearby communities facing contamination, North Adams' water supply is made up of surface water collected from mountain runoff.

The discussion cropped up following the recent discovery of contaminants at nearby towns like Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Petersburgh, N.Y., and North Bennington, Vt.

"When you hear about some of the things, for instance the problems they're having in Hoosick Falls, it is groundwater contamination versus water runoff that comes off the mountain and into our [reservoirs]," said Mayor Richard Alcombright.

The city's two water sources — the Mount Williams Reservoir on Pattison Road and the smaller Notch Reservoir on Reservoir Road — are at a higher elevation that almost all of the city's residents and its industrial buildings. After the water is collected in the reservoirs, there are "multiple levels of testing" before it reaches a home faucet, according to Alcombright.

The Greylock Well, located behind Greylock School, is typically only used during extreme drought situations and has not been active since 2007, according to city officials. Despite its infrequent use, Commissioner of Public Services Timothy Lescarbeau said it is tested multiple times a year for more than 65 contaminants without any red flags popping up.

"If the well is reported offline ... it's just not in use for that period of time, but it is sampled multiple times a year and tested as an emergency backup source," Alcombright said.

The well was flagged for noncompliance in 2014, but Lescarbeau said it was because the required third-quarter chloride test was taken a week early.

A former well near Walmart had maintenance issues and was abandoned many years ago, Alcombright said.

Councilor Keith Bona noted that the council has taken tours of the Hoosac Water Quality District wastewater treatment facility in Williamstown and the city's Department of Public Works headquarters in years past. He suggested the councilors take a tour of the city's water treatment facility.

"Especially with everything that's being discussed in the news, I think just having more information on it for ourselves, or when we are asked questions, we [will] have a better understanding, too."

The city's annual water consumer report can be found on the front page of its website at

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376


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