Drought Brings Discolored Water in Berwick, Restrictions for Exeter
The ongoing drought has caused water restrictions in Exeter and brown water in Berwick.
The new U.S. Drought Monitor continues to show most of southern New Hampshire and Maine in a moderate drought, with a severe drought along the Massachusetts border.
With no significant precipitation expected, Exeter has implemented Level 4 mandatory water restrictions effective immediately with a potential $500 fine.
The new restrictions prohibit landscape watering, the filling of swimming pools greater than 100 gallons capacity, the washing of streets, driveways, and sidewalks, and the washing of vehicles or boats at a non-commercial facility.
The first violation gets a written warning. A second violation is a $100 fine, and a third violation is a $500 fine plus water shut off.
Amesbury, Merrimac, Salisbury, and West Newbury in Massachusetts have mandatory restrictions on non-essential water use. South Berwick also has restrictions in place.
The Berwick Water Department said a slowdown in the flow of the Salmon Falls River has increased the amount of manganese in the drinking water and causing discoloration. It is currently at half the health advisory recommended by the EPA, according to the water department. The standard is 0.05 mg/L.
Manganese is a mineral found in water that can cause stains in laundry, scaling in plumbing, and give it a bad smell or taste, according to an explainer by the Minnesota Department of Health. It can be harmful to one's health above the EPA's standard.
The Berwick Water Department said it has flushed hydrants to help remove the color and increased the Manganese sequestering agent Orthophosphate.
"This will take time to work through the system but it should assist in color reduction also," the department wrote.