Mandatory water use restrictions now in effect in Athol

Athol Town Hall.

Athol Town Hall. FILE PHOTO

Staff Report

Published: 07-09-2024 1:45 PM

ATHOL – Mandatory outside water use restrictions are now in effect, according to the Department of Public Works.

The water restrictions were put into effect on July 5 after the level of the Millers River dropped to below 186 cubic feet per second for more than three consecutive days. The water level was measured at a river gauge in Erving.

DPW Assistant Superintendent Paul Raskevitz said that the restrictions are fairly common this time of year, although last year’s heavy rain meant they didn’t need to be implemented.

“Generally at this time, they warrant taking effect,” said Raskevitz.

According to Raskevitz, the water level of 186 cubic feet per second is set by the Mass Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP maintains a count of communities with water restrictions, and several towns and cities in eastern Massachusetts have them in effect, as of June 11.

While the restrictions are in effect, no nonessential water use is allowed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Examples of nonessential outdoor water use include watering and irrigation of lawns, washing of vehicles other than by means of a commercial car wash except as necessary for operator safety; and the washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks except as necessary to apply paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement.

The Water Department is required, in accordance with Athol’s Water Use Restriction Bylaw and Water Management Act Permit, to enforce these restrictions until the river gauge in Erving is above 186 cubic feet per second for seven consecutive days. At that point, the town will be notified about the ending of the water restrictions.

Raskevitz said on Tuesday that the water level has just gone up to 400 cubic feet per second, though not for seven consecutive days.

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