Kingston: Dirty water solution approved

Kingston isn’t Boston–they don’t love that dirty water. Manganese, a naturally occurring element, supports life in trace amounts, but larger amounts become a problem in a public water supply: it turns water brown to black, causes stains, and possible health risks.

“The water has been very good for the longest time, and Kingston had superior water quality,” consulting engineer Mark Devine told Kingston Town Meeting Tuesday night.

Note the past tense. Kingston had superior water quality.

The problem is an unexplained infiltration of manganese–it has invaded deep well water supplies and no one knows why. Kingston’s problem began when the state’s DEP restricted the town’s withdrawal of water from the Jones River basin. That left one deep well, the Trackle Pond well, for the town to draw from heavily. The more water the town took out, the more manganese appeared.

Town Meeting considered a proposal to build an expensive treatment plant beside its highest producing well to filter the increasing presence of manganese.

“Trackle Pond is our single largest producing well,” Chairman of Water Commissioners Bob Kotska told the Meeting. “The idea is to treat this particular well, pump it to capacity, which will enable us to pump all our other wells at a lower capacity. We have discovered, when we pump our wells at a lower capacity, most of you don’t recognize that there’s manganese in your water.”

Kingston Town Meeting approved a $4.7 million plan to build a filtration plant next to the Trackle Pond well.

Kingston serves here as the local warning – the mysterious manganese problem has begun appearing in the water supplies of other towns in the region.

About Charles Mathewson

Charles Mathewson is a reporter at WATD.