The conservation commission is funding water tests in wells near the former Page Hill Road dump site in New Ipswich.
The waste disposal location in the southern portion of town has been closed for nearly 40 years, but members of the conservation commission think it is important to run tests after learning more about groundwater flow. The first quote for four tests was $2,748, and the commission is reaching out to area residents.
“Over time we were concerned about it so we decided to put some money into it,” Commission Chair Bob Boynton said. “We’re trying to see that the wells aren’t contaminated.”
The dump site was in use from 1956 to about 1979, and Boynton said hazardous materials may have been left there. He mentioned heavy metals and volatile compounds from dye used in textile manufacturing as specific contaminants they are looking for. He said the site was not well regulated, and thinks people would come up from Massachusetts to avoid its stricter regulations.
“I don’t think there’s many people left in town who know what was going in there,” he said.
The tests cost roughly $687 each for four and will be done on private residential wells within half a mile of the site. Surveys and flyers are being sent to homeowners in that area.
The benefit of the conservation commission funding the tests is that it will be able to aggregate and analyze the results. This action was not triggered by anything in particular, just uncertainty and noting a growing population in the area.
“As we got to know how groundwater migrates, we decided to pursue it,” Boynton said. “The way it was closed without having a cap put on it, we decided calmly to see what the groundwater is like up there.”