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Agawam Water Department links usage increase to pandemic

Date: 7/13/2021

AGAWAM  – The Agawam Water Department recently released its 2020 water quality report to inform residents of their water consumption, usage and safety.

According to the report, Agawam purchases their drinking water from the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission. This originated from a surface water supply located in Blandford and Granville, Massachusetts.

The two bodies of water that make up that water supply are Cobble Mountain Reservoir and Borden Brook Reservoir.

The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission has a 42 million gallon Provin Mountain finish reservoir from which they receive their water. However, Agawam operates their own system for water distribution within the community.

“This system, comprised of one pump station and approximately 150 miles of pipe ranging in diameter from 4 inches to 24 inches, and 11,476 service accounts. Residential water use accounted for 68.3 percent of total usage and overall annual consumption was up 10 percent versus 2019 use at 1,168,899,300 gallons of water in 2020,” according to the Agawam Water Department.

The report continued, “The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is requiring that all water systems take steps to reach 65 residential gallons per capita per day standard (GPCPD). This residential usage includes water used for lawn irrigation. In Agawam, the average residence has 2.5 people which, at the 65 gallon rate translates to 4,000 cubic feet (CF) in a six-month billing cycle.”

In 2014, water consumption was reduced on an inclining block rate structure. Currently, all residential usage above 4,000 CF and additional water use has a charged rate of $2.38 per 100 CF.

In 2020, Agawam reached 76 GPCPD, above the state standard of 65. In 2019, Agawam was only at 62. Their reasoning for the increase in residential use is connected to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding health information, the water quality report informed residents that all drinking water, including bottled water, may contain a small amount of contaminants. Although, this does not mean the water poses a health risk.

The report reads, “The Agawam Department of Public Works is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap water for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking.”

For residents who are concerned about lead in their water, or wish to have it tested, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visit

Additionally, the Agawam Water Department said takes the protection of the Public Water Supply seriously. “It’s very important and a vital component is proper backflow prevention and cross-connection control. Cross-connections are potential sources of backflow and are something that we need to prevent because of the potential adverse effects to public health and safety. If water backflows into the public water system, the system could become contaminated. Therefore, we urge you to implement proper cross-connection controls.”

“Backflow prevention devices (BPD) are tested by the department at a minimum of an annual basis or greater depending on the BPD and hazard to which the BPD protects. The Agawam Water Department requires notification of the installation, repair, replacement, relocation, and removal of backflow prevention devices and approval needs to be granted before work can proceed.”

Moving forward, the Agawam Water Department shared plans for this year. “For the 2021 construction season, the Water Department is planning to replace the water main for the following streets: Remainder of Hamilton Circle, Memorial Drive, DePalma Street, Phil Street, and Memorial Park.”

John Decker, Agawam Water Department superintendent, did not respond to Reminder Publishing’s request for comment as of press time.

To view the Agawam Water Department’s full 2020 water report, visit