EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 28, 2013

Selectmen turn down dioxane proposal

Citizen's petition could be created

ATKINSON — Paul DiMaggio is one of the 18 lucky homeowners who will be getting hooked up to a new water line on the EPA’s tab.

But his attempt to help out his neighbors was denied by selectmen Monday.

DiMaggio, who lives at 14 Emery Drive, submitted a warrant article for the town to appropriate $160,000 to connect 19 other contaminated homes to the waterline, but selectmen rejected the article. DiMaggio will now opt to go the route of a citizens petition to get the item on the warrant at Town Meeting.

“We want houses who have the option to connect, to be taken care of,” DiMaggio said. “We have to protect the rest of our citizens.”

For more than a year, dozens of homes on Emery Drive, Belknap Drive, Brookside Terrace and Deer Run Road have had traces of 1,4 Dioxane in their wells.

Dioxane is a chemical known to cause cancer. Homes with wells that have Dioxane levels below that standard are not included in the federal program.

The source of the contamination may have been the release of a chlorinated solvent at the Johnston and Johnston property in 1989. The company, which manufactured rolled aluminum, sold the property at 128 Route 111 to Winfield Alloy, a recycling company, in 2005.

The contamination was discovered in 2012, and since then, the state Department of Environmental Services has provided bottled water to homes with well water containing 3 micrograms of Dioxane.

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would spend $2 million on the project to create a new water line, but would only hook up to homes which had more than three parts per billion of Dioxane.

DiMaggio’s plan calls for the remaining 19 homes which have access to the water line to be connected.

“We would cap it at $6,000 a household,” he said. “That should be about $114,000.”

With the money left, DiMaggio proposes that it goes toward connecting 14 homes which are along the water line, but show no traces of contamination.

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