Town Hall Installs Water Filtration in wake of Manganese Danger

Town hall has a new filtration system that will remove the unsafe amounts of manganese that might be present.

Residents who believe their water might be unsafe, have been invited to fill up their own jugs at the Town Hall.

Original post from the Water Department Page

During 2017 manganese was found in the water and nobody was informed.
People were informed in 2019 that the levels were considered unsafe for pregnant and nursing women, and babies.

For more information, contact Groton Town Hall!

UPDATE – January 7th, 2020 10:13PM
A reader has asked that we post the following image and link to the Water Department’s Annual Report from 2018.

A link to download the report can be found on the Groton Water Department’s website here:

Author: rottenadmin


  1. A few factual corrections:

    * Quarterly manganese testing at the Whitney wells exceeded MassDEP’s action levels for the first time in Fall 2018. Manganese levels before that time had always been in compliance.

    * The Fall 2018 levels were included in the year-end annual quality report that was mailed to all Groton Water account holders and posted online to the Groton Water Department website. For several years before this, annual quality reports had identified manganese as a potential issue that was being carefully monitored.

    * MassDEP advises that infants up to 12 months of age not be given water with manganese levels over 0.30 mg/L for more than a total of 10 days, nor should formula for these infants be made from such water for more than a total of 10 days. Families are being individually contacted by the GWD as new births in town are recorded.

    * MassDEP advises that pregnant individuals with significant health issues and/or concerns should talk to their health care provider about manganese intake during their pregnancy.

    * MassDEP advises that women who are healthy and breastfeeding should continue to do so, even when drinking water with elevated manganese levels, as there is no correlation between manganese levels in water consumed and in breast milk produced.

    That is all.

  2. Attorney Fishbone,
    In 2017 manganese levels reached 356. The maximum level is 300.
    The public was not informed. Expect several lawsuits from every woman who was pregnant at that time, as well as parents of children under 12 months of age.
    Aren’t you the candidate who ran under the promise to prevent Groton from becoming the next Flint, Michigan?
    You are an attorney, yet you did not disclose dangerous levels of manganese to your constituents. I hope your malpractice insurance is paid up to date.

    1. Hi, Sarah. I’d like to know the source of your 2017 data because it’s very much incorrect.

      Samples taken in 2017 showed manganese concentrations of 287 parts per billion at Whitney Well #1 and 81 parts per billion at Whitney Well #2. These numbers represent concentrations, and don’t get added together. If the two sources were blended in equal proportions, the resulting water would average to 184 parts per billion. Whitney water is also blended in the distribution system with filtered water from Baddacook, which has 0 parts per billion.

      MassDEP’s level of concern is with any water source above 300 parts per billion of manganese. All GWD water sources remained in compliance during 2017 and through 2018 until October, which was the first time either Whitney well sampled at over 300 parts per billion. The spike in manganese happened as the aquifer recharged from a historic drought. While Whitney Well #1 has since fluctuated in and out of compliance, Whitney Well #2 has remained consistently high.

      The BoWC and GWD have made sure all MassDEP-approved information has been made available to the public as quickly as possible, and the town has been working with MassDEP on a permanent plan to remediate the water from both wells.

      You’re correct that I ran for office in the wake of Flint, with manganese being one of the issues I was most concerned with and better communications being another. I made sure both issues were on the agenda of the first meeting after my election, and that plans were put forward immediately. Unfortunately, there’s only so much control mere humans can have over the amount of rainfall we get, what minerals are located underground, and how long the regulators take to approve the release of information. The important thing is that every possible effort is being made to keep community members safe and fully informed.

      The Groton Water Department website at is the best place to find this information on this topic. I also have a manganese briefing document I’ve made available on my Water Commissioner Facebook page and a PDF version that’s available for the asking. Feel free to hit me up with your questions, and all are always welcome to attend the BoWC’s public meetings.

  3. I got my information on page 5 of the May 2018 Groton Water Department’s
    Annual Water Quality Report. Manganese levels reached 356 in 2017.

  4. Thanks, Sarah. I will look into this and get back to you.

  5. The Groton Water Department is still digging into its records, but I’m inclined to believe that the 2017 Annual Report is accurate, that at least one quarterly test in 2017 was out of spec, and that the current list of test results on the GWD website is incomplete. I don’t recall an out-of-spec test being disclosed to the water commissioners in 2017, and can’t find evidence of any such discussion in our minutes, but who knows. I can understand anyone who’s angry about this. I’m angry about this too! Doubly angry, since I’m angry as a water commissioner as well as a water-drinking member of the public.

    I will make sure the BoWC discusses this matter at our next meeting. I will push the GWD to conduct an inquiry into the omission and to disclose as much information as possible into the effect this may have had on manganese levels in the distribution system. This will be resolved, but until then I’d urge people not to assume the omission was intentional or malicious, or that anyone was ever endangered, or that having this information in 2017 might have allowed us to do anything more to protect and preserve the Whitney Wells. We were focused on that already, while we were doing everything possible to weather a historic drought.

    The Open Meeting Law prevents me from saying much more in a public forum. If were some more private forum, perhaps on Facebook, where I could talk with Groton folks without risking a quorum of the BoWC, I’d certainly accept an invitation to participate. Barring that, anyone with concerns can always contact me by email.

    Thanks, Sarah, for bringing this to my attention.

    1. Thank you for answering.

  6. An update as promised.

    We discussed this issue at last night’s Board of Water Commissioners meeting with the GWD Superintendent in attendance. Quarterly testing of GWD wells for manganese began in the second quarter of 2017. These results were communicated by the GWD to the state regulator, MassDEP, which mandates how the tests are done and how the data is communicated to the public. A single out-of-spec result was apparently seen by the GWD and MassDEP as a potential anomaly, possibly due to then current drought conditions, a recent well cleaning, or a mistake in the testing process. In the next test, the manganese levels returned to spec and remained below the level of concern for additional quarters. MassDEP’s public reporting requirements were followed by the reference inserted into the 2017 annual report.

    Individual tests were not reported by the GWD to the Board of Water Commissioners. By longstanding practice, the BoWC does not micromanage the relationship between the GWD and MassDEP, trusting compliance with MassDEP’s requirements sufficient to protect the public. Last night, the GWD Superintendent admitted that in retrospect this out-of-spec result should have been communicated to the BoWC. Even as a suspected anomaly, it may have provided valuable insight into the state of the wells and might have affected our deliberations, although the BoWC were already focused on managing the pumping rates during the drought and completing an upgrade to the Whitney pumps that was expected to reduce their impact on the aquifer. The MassDEP-mandated language in the annual report was also not brought to the BoWC’s attention and went unnoticed.

    In the wake of current manganese issues, the BoWC successfully lobbied to allow the GWD to release prior test results to the public. Unfortunately, two 2017 tests were not included from the data set posted to the GWD website. The Superintendent speculates that they were inadvertently overlooked, and the BoWC have no reason to disbelieve him. These results have been located and are now being added to the website. The BoWC has reaffirmed its desire for the GWD to release all available data to the public, as allowed by MassDEP, and to bring future out-of-spec or anomalous results to BoWC’s attention ASAP.

    Let me know if there’s any additional information I can provide.

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