Claims against cranberry industry, water supply 'irresponsible'

Apr 03, 2018

To the Editor:

Your newspaper recently published a letter to the editor which raised some concerns about the A.D. Makepeace Company and the impact of cranberry bogs on the town’s water supply.

Here are the facts:

Over a period of 15 years, more than 14,000 tests were conducted by the Wareham Fire District. Pesticides were detected in fewer than 3 percent of the results, with two specific chemical compounds detected more frequently than others. In all cases, the detections of these compounds were more than 10 times below the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) informal guidelines for these compounds. The Water District’s consultants found no discernible trends in the test results that would give reason for any concern.

In 2002, 2008, and 2016, the District asked the DEP to conduct independent health risk assessments of its testing data. Each time, the state reported no health risks, either individually or collectively, from the compounds detected.

Yes, it is true: the A.D. Makepeace Company did suggest to the Water Department that the $12.5 million cost of a new water treatment facility could be avoided if the district connected to our water system just over the town line in Plymouth. We see this as sensible regional solution that could save taxpayers money. It is unclear why the district chose not to pursue this solution.

This company has always been committed to being a responsible neighbor and an active supporter of the Town of Wareham, and will continue to do so.

More than a third of the A.D. Makepeace Company’s employees (including myself) and their families live in Wareham. Naturally, the letter to the editor caused some of them to be concerned about the safety of their drinking water. We can assure them, and your readers, that the statement that our bogs have been “scientifically identified as the primary source of the pesticides in our drinking water supply” is simply irresponsible.


Linda Burke

A.D. Makepeace Company


Comments (4)
Posted by: bob | Apr 03, 2018 15:01

Gee,it would be nice to hear from WFD,why they been silent on this...

Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 03, 2018 17:26

14,000 tests done over 15 years ? Mind posting those results ? That's a lot of tests.

Plus, the more than one third of employees live in Wareham statement is irrelevant... More than one third doesn't even equal half. Thanks though.

Let's all agree that Makepeace isn't the gods country that it used to be. When the old timers passed the company greedily changed directions. I understand the price per barrel of berries isn't what it used to be, but how many more neighborhood developments or assisted living centers do we need ?

If they're so inclined to be good neighbors where is all the low income or affordable housing ? Where's the youth centers, or seeing how much land is owned how about a place to ride recreational vehicles responsibly ?

Please don't spout off that they built a YMCA, because you pay handsomely to attend that facility.

It's a no brainer that Makepeace is cordial to Wareham, look at the uncontested building and construction going on. There is an old saying in Texas, don't bite the hand that lets you help yourself... Or something like that.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 03, 2018 17:51

What really is the puzzler is why we don’t do away with the districts and get the water from the other wells in town.. water flows in any direction under pressure and linking the Onset and Wareham pipes on Cranberry highway would be a much cheaper alternative to treating water at the wareham site. Water also mixes easily, diluting our current supply with that of another pesticide / magnesium free source would reduce to an acceptable level. Its just about the districts wanted to retain power, its not about Wareham anymore

Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 03, 2018 18:43

I don't want anyone to think I'm anti-Makepeace or that I don't appreciate what the company does for Wareham as a whole. I understand they contribute lots of time, space and resources for community events. I'm thankful for what they provide in that aspect.

Who's to say that the old bleaching facility that stood where the Elks's is currently didn't taint the groundwater. To this day I can show you a lime pit that's right on the bank of the Agawam river. Although lime isn't considered harmful, my argument would be what else is in the ground that we haven't discovered ? I can remember the days of pulling the drain plug on the old Buick and just letting the oil soak into the earth... Then again I remember my burgers coming in those annoying Styrofoam containers. What we didn't know then. :(

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