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Town's drinking water receives top score for fourth year

Date: 7/20/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM When you're thirsty, do you turn on your tap, fill up a glass and take a gulp without worry? You can thank the town's Water Department for that.

Wilbraham Water Superintendent Michael Framarin and the Water Department learned recently that they once again achieved one of the highest scores in the annual Massachusetts Public Drinking Water Award Program, hosted by the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

"It takes a lot of effort," Framarin told Reminder Publications. "We work every day of the year, mainly Monday through Friday, but we come in on the weekends to check ... We're on top of things. We don't let things slide."

He added that the water department takes daily samplings of the town's drinking water, testing for everything from bacteria to chlorine. Framarin said there is always an analysis being done on the water the public drinks.

The DEP noticed their commitment. Wilbraham won awards in 2006, 2007 and 2008, but in order to allow other water systems to rise to a winning standard, the town was not eligible for an award this year, according to a letter from David Terry, Program Director of the Massachusetts DEP Drinking Water Program.

"To get an award from the DEP is a big deal," Framarin noted. "It's very hard to win." He added that it was a "very good feeling to be consistently excellent."

The DEP Drinking Water Program evaluates water on compliance with drinking water regulations, administrative capacity, source protection, distribution treatment, disinfection and monitoring activities.

Framarin explained that the water the supplies all of Wilbraham and parts of Ludlow has come from the Quabbin Reservoir since 1950. Wilbraham, Chicopee and South Hadley are the only towns west of the reservoir that receive its water. He said water from the Quabbin is "better quality to start with."

David Barry, chair of the Board of Selectmen, thanked Framarin and the water department for their efforts in a letter dated July 13: "You and your crew have developed and maintain a level of service that can only be achieved with exceptional leadership, uncompromising attention to detail and a well functioning teamwork environment. On behalf of all Wilbraham and Ludlow families whose drinking water is in your capable hands, thanks for giving us superb quality drinking water and peace of mind every time we turn on our faucets."

"We always try our best," Framarin said. "We try to stay ahead of the curve, and we aim to win [an award] next year. Everything has to be perfect."

Framarin has been serving as Water Superintendent since 1994.