Foxborough resident and Mayfair Realty President Kevin Weinfeld remembers a time when Foxborough was receiving state awards for the quality of its water … that is no longer the case.
“We went from [winning state awards] to where we are now,” Weinfeld said.
The town’s water quality currently is, to put it mildly, poor. Foxborough’s Water Department has fielded countless phone calls from angry residents fed up with paying for brown tap water.
Last week, Foxborough resident Lorraine Teague photographed the severity of the brown water issue at her Mayfair apartment unit on Chestnut Street. Mayfair Vice President of Operations Rich Feeley brought Teague’s photos to Monday’s water & sewer rate increase hearing at the Water Department building.
“This was extreme on [Jan. 24],” Feeley told Foxborough’s Water & Sewer Commissioners. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that bad.”
Weinfeld said one of Teague’s photos looked like “somebody got stabbed in a bathtub” and Water & Sewer Commissioner chair Bill Euerle told the board it looked like somebody had poured a glass of Coca-Cola.
There’s no denying Foxborough has a severe water quality problem, but that did not prevent Foxborough’s Water & Sewer Commissioners from raising rates to pay for bills the town’s enterprise account cannot cover because of a lack of revenue.
“We don’t think it’s right for you to consider raising the rates when the condition is poor,” Weinfeld said.
Feeley agreed, asking the commissioners why residents should be forced to pay higher water and sewer rates for water that would not meet DEP standards.
Feeley stressed that at the end of the day the water quality problem is not solely about the money.
“It really isn’t a money issue for us,” Feeley said. “It’s a quality of life issue.”
Weinfeld said he has 400 dissatisfied customers at his Mayfair apartment communities because of the water problems.
“We have residents calling up and saying we are going to move,” Weinfeld said. “Not just, ‘we are going to move from one side of town to the other’ but ‘we are going to leave town.’”
Weinfeld added that it is not just his company’s tenants that are complaining.
“You can take into account all the other properties on Chestnut Street,” Weinfeld said. “It is one of the most intensely occupied places in our town and it has without a doubt the worst water quality in our community.”
DPW Director Roger Hill said the Mayfair properties are in the heart of the old water system that is mainly responsible for the brown water.
“The peculiarity of where this exists … I don’t think it has a lot to do with Station One as it does with the older part of the system,” Hill said. “Chestnut Street, Pumping Station Road and Mechanic Street are the heart of the old part of the system.”
The Commissioners said there is no “quick fix” to the problem as it will require a substantial amount of money and replacement of pipes in the system.
“This problem has built up over the years,” Euerle said. “It’s an accumulation of the sediment in the mains now. It’s built up over the years. Probably been building up since we’ve been getting those water awards 10 years ago.”
Hill said a more immediate – and temporary – solution is to do a thorough flushing of the system. But that won’t take place until the spring.
“We can’t flush now,” Hill said. “That’s spring, summer and fall work. … We are going to do sequential flushing, which will get rid a lot of this stuff but remember that cast iron piping that’s in there has been around for 70-80 years. That’s a long-term replacement. We have to replace that pipe.”
Christina Conrad Runkal, a Foxborough resident for over 40 years, said on Foxborough Patch’s Facebook page that while she is in a part of town that doesn’t have water problems she finds it ridiculous the town won’t do more to help residents affected by the issue.
“I’ve lived here for over 40 years and I have never seen anything like what’s going on in this town lately,” she said. … “I just find it ridiculous that no one is being compensated for this until there is a fix. We used to have a town that cared what their residents went through, I'm finding this is not so anymore … and people were worried about a casino on Route 1 changing the "small town image?" We are now seeing it every day.”
Resident Pat Noyes Corliss added on Foxborough Patch’s Facebook page that he’s been getting brown water for years.
“It happens when you don’t expect it,” Corliss said. “I’ve ruined a lot of clothes. Showed them to the water department but to no avail.”
SHARE: Upload your brown water photos to the gallery above to show your neighbors just how bad the issue is.