Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Water Worries

Atkins Reservoir (8/28/16):  Currently down 7'10" with 87 million gallons remaining of 200 million
Pelham Reservoir currently unusable until Oct/Nov

In a presentation to the Select Board last night Assistant Town Manager Dave Ziomek gave a somewhat optimistic update about the slowly worsening water supply situation, citing the impact of mandatory water restrictions that went into effect August 19th.

 Town website main page
Click to enlarge
 Last year peak was 4.1 mgd on September 6th but this year's target is 3.5 mgd

Of course the BIG test has yet to come.  Last year September 6th, with a consumption of 4.1 million gallons, was peak day due to the return of our bread and butter college aged youth.

And suddenly everyone seems to remember the chaotic 1980 incident where the water system failed and UMass students had to be sent home.

The BIG difference this time around is Well 4 with a an output of 1.74 million gallons per day is online.  Back in 1980 the treatment plant known as "Baby Carriage" adjoining Well 4 -- which has high levels of iron and manganese -- was still under construction.

Scenic Baby Carriage Treatment Plant, South East Street

Atkins Reservoir is dropping about an inch a day so by this time next month -- unless we get significant rainfall -- it will need to be shut down.  

Without use of Reservoirs the Wells alone can pump out 4.72 million gallons
Town water quality report 2016

The key question is will this vital public water system, operating under stressful conditions and with our population about to almost double, hold?


Atkins Reservoir expanding sandbar:

August 21st
August 28th


Anonymous said...

I've always thought Amherst should be a dry town.

Ba dum bum.

Anonymous said...

Until a pump fails

Anonymous said...

"The key question is will this vital public water system, operating under stressful conditions and with our population about to almost double, hold?"

Of course it will, for the very reason you put forth. Two wells that are not even online now will be used. You really love this Chicken Little thing.

Larry Kelley said...

A lot less than I love being right.

Anonymous said...

All you need is a major fire and things will get really interesting.

The problem with wells is that the aquifer will have to recharge and that can take a year or more. In other words, the wells are essentially draining underground lakes, and it takes longer for rain to refill them.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, Engine 2 (The Quint) and Ladder 1 each have a nozzle atop their ladder that can throw 1,500 gallons per minute.

Anonymous said...

The UMass Chancellor sent an email to students/staff last week laying out the situation and what students can do (limiting shower time, washing full loads of laundry, turning off sinks...). They also have mentioned other messaging they'll be doing on campus. Seems everyone is getting on board, which is good. Informing is half the battle.

Anonymous said...

Watch for them to quietly do the exact opposite out of spite -- although I can also see toilets being left unflushed.

I don't think many realize the extent to which UMass has become a fascist gulag, nor the depth of the visceral resentment amongst the students. They resent the crackdown on parties, they resent the town (and "townies") in dimensions few understand.

And now the same folk are telling them to conserve water -- without any ability to enforce that edict, as these are all discretionary acts on the part of the students -- particularly those who live off-campus.

How better to get back at the "townie" neighbors than using up all their water?

So UMass closes for a week -- or a month -- most of the undergrads would love to see that happen. They all have cell phones, most have cars, they'd just go visit friends at other colleges where parties are still allowed. Remember the Halloween Blizzard -- the resentment wasn't that UM closed for a couple days but that it wasn't closed longer.

Larry, I wouldn't be surprise to see a lot of water being intentionally wasted.

Anonymous said...

Gee I wonder who 8:35 is. Ed, you are the only person who thinks that way. No point in being anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to write-up, love the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Ed, believe it or not, UMass students go to UMass to get an education. You are really warped.

Anonymous said...

Gee I wonder who 8:35 is. Ed, you are the only person who thinks that way.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't -- you'll never know for sure and won't that irritate you....

No point in being anonymous.

I believe his intent was to stop feeding trolls, nothing more.

[Person who may or not be] Ed, believe it or not, UMass students go to UMass to get an education.


Umass students attend UMass to get grades, nothing more. They neither pursue knowledge nor make any pretense of doing so, their sole goal is to obtain credentials.

They RENT their textbooks -- they only seek to obtain knowedge through the end of the semester, not for a lifetime. To them, truth is whatever the authority figure says it is, and their goal is to blindly recite it back.

The few who dare ask questiond -- about 200 a year -- are silenced by Enku and her ACT Nazis. Kids literally disappear into the night on that campus, and when the student who disagreed with the professor isn't there next week, the rest understand.

You are really warped.

Whatever, whomever I may or may not be.

Anonymous said...

Yes ed is a sick OBVIOUS Bastard! Pardon my french. It's hard to believe the good people of Massachusetts wasted their money on his unused wasted education. Ed pay us back!

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if there is any additional Freshman shrink because of the water issue. The students of the '80's are the parents of today-- they know Umass has been shut down once, and don't know it won't be again.

And it's an awfully big check he has to write.

Anonymous said...

Ed if you are an example of someone pursuing knowledge for a lifetime. Me thinks you fell off the turnip truck somewhere and did some exceptional brain damage. Son, you need to seriously re-think your direction in life. You are one really fucked up dude.

Anonymous said...

New UMass motto: Save water, drink beer.

Anonymous said...

Larry, remember the massive amount of water used the last week of July?

Broken pipe in Hs sorta explains it, doesn't it?

Larry Kelley said...


Anonymous said...

I hope for the best, but I think it's going to be increasingly harder to spin control when the privileged out of state big dime paying students need to conserve anything and deny immediate gratification.

Anonymous said...

It's more than that -- the "out of state big-dime students" are paying 4-star prices, and they will, legitimately, feel entitled to 4-star amenities. Their attitude will be that they have already paid for the water and hence have every right to use as much as they damn well olease.

Anonymous said...

I hate to conserve....consume,consume...die...I am old...screw you students!