On April 11, 2016, the Town of Charlton and ExxonMobil signed an Agreement in Principle under which ExxonMobil will fund the installation of a waterline. This long-term, permanent solution is intended to help resolve groundwater contamination problems that may relate to the former LaMountain service station. The line has the added benefit of addressing other groundwater issues facing the Town which are not related to the station, such as naturally occurring arsenic, road salt, radon/uranium, and petroleum releases from the Town Garage.
The ability to install a waterline was made possible when the Town secured an inter-municipal agreement in April 2015 with neighboring Southbridge to supply the needed water for the line. With the signing of the Agreement in Principle, ExxonMobil has initiated design of the waterline with a goal of summer 2017 to begin construction. Yet, as waterline design approvals slowed, technical concerns grew over various issues including pressure testing of Charlton’s existing waterlines, which lacked adequate pressure in some areas, delaying construction. The technical team devised a three-phase waterline construction timeline designed to begin the Route 169 pump station and water mixers installation and Charlton Waterline pipe laying in 2018. The remaining pump stations will be completed and the team will finalize the individual water service connections by 2021, as originally planned.
In advance of installation of the waterline, ExxonMobil commenced sampling the potable water well of every property – residential and commercial – along the new waterline route (designated in orange on map). Findings will be shared with property owners, MADEP and the Charlton Board of Health.
Highlights of the agreement include:
- ExxonMobil will offer free connections to all residences along the new water line loop (see new waterline route highlighted in orange on map) as well as the Charlton Middle School, Heritage School, Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School and the Overlook Life Care Community on Masonic Home Road. The ExxonMobil funded-connections do not include residences or commercial buildings located on the water line extensions installed for municipal purposes along Masonic Home Road and H. Putnam (highlighted in green on map).
- ExxonMobil will extend an offer to connect, free of charge, all residences along the orange route regardless of whether the property’s potable wells test positive for Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE). Residents will have 12 months to accept this offer. This 12-month Connection Period will start when the line is activated (wetted). ExxonMobil will send quarterly notices to remind property owners of the deadline.
- ExxonMobil’s offer to connect properties is contingent on each property’s potable well being abandoned – at ExxonMobil’s expense. The objective is to eliminate a potential exposure pathway for contaminated water.
- ExxonMobil will connect, at no charge, the three schools and the Overlook Life Care Community on Masonic Home Road.
- Charlton will not charge betterment fees along the waterline route, regardless of whether the home connects to the waterline. For clarity, Charlton will not charge betterments for those properties where the owners refuse ExxonMobil’s connection offer. However, Charlton reserves the right to assess a privilege fee for any change resulting in a new, larger or additional water service connection after expiration of the Connection Period (to be paid by property owner).
- ExxonMobil will work with the Massachusetts State Department of Environmental Protection to identify commercial properties requiring water sampling as part of ExxonMobil’s upcoming 12-month sampling program. ExxonMobil will not pay to connect commercial properties where MTBE is not detected in the wells.
- ExxonMobil will provide waterline connection stubs for lots that could potentially be developed or built upon, subject to Town of Southbridge and Town of Charlton requirements. For clarity, ExxonMobil will not be responsible for connecting future developed lots. Click here for frequently asked questions about installation of the waterline.