October 15, 2005 –

Floods in Central Mass - Hamilton Reservoir, Holland, MA

For those of you who have heard and for those of you who have not, here is what happened; first the story and then what has been and still needs to be done. The News stations in both Massachusetts and Connecticut incorrectly reported that the Union and Holland dams broke. They did not!!!

After nine (9) days and over 10 inches of water, all of the wetlands such as the Leadmine and Maybrook areas surrounding us and feeding the lake were totally saturated. The streams were totally filled. Then Holland had an additional nine (9) inches in one day/night. If you were not there this is hard to imagine but the lake rose between six and seven FEET at the rate of over one foot per hour during the middle of the night, early morning. The good news is that many of the lake home owners already had taken their boats out of the water and had closed up for the season and/or were not there. By midmorning Saturday the lake was already receding and is now back to the high side of normal. The streams all over town were also flowing at unimaginable rates and overflowing their banks so many of the major roads in town were compromised and closed. There were also streams where we never had them before.

The people in the town were amazing. By very early in the morning all the state and federal folks had been contacted and were getting things rolling, crews were out repairing roads, and people had been evacuated. The washed out roads are being repaired very quickly. The authorities have requested Federal and State help. FEMA and MEMA (Mass Emergency Management Agency - the state equivalent of FEMA) were there Sunday morning and have been working with us since. Two (2) six man crews worked fire detail, four (4) police officers, four (4) highway employees, the Selectmen, the Board of Health, James Gagne our Emergency management officer in town and too many others to list really stepped in this weekend. Many docks, boats, paddleboats, lawn chairs etc floated down and then with the wind floated back upstream. When they knew where they belonged people living on the lake have been returning things to the owners.

What you need to know- to do:
The water covered many/most wells and septics. That includes septics not directly on the lake. Some of that water ended up in the lake too. The BOARD OF HEALTH is asking everyone to have their wells tested before drinking! Many/most septics are full and should be pumped out. With all of the water there is no way for them to function properly.

For anyone who is concerned about applying for permission to make repairs that you would need permits for under normal situations – the Conservation Commission is awarding Emergency certification (work orders) for temporary repairs to rivers, streams, brooks, or lake fronts.

There are very specific rules in order to be awarded the various disaster statuses. If we were to get Federal Disaster Status we will let you know but the under the rules - reimbursement for repairs is ONLY if this is provably your primary residence, and the type of repairs they consider reimbursable depends on the particular storm.

The Board of Health has some documentation about what to do with Wells and Septics, etc. We will include some here and on the HRA website. www.hamiltonreservoir.com and will update it as we get more. There are also web addresses for dealing with others things that may have happened as a result of the water such as mold.

While the lake is now on the high side of what we view as “normal”, the drawdown is now weather dependent. We are expecting more rain this weekend and possibly another hurricane related rain next week. The streams, lakes, rivers, upstreams are saturated and more rain means nowhere for the water to go.

Pictures after the lake had begun receding are on the web site in the “Lake Information” section.

If you have someone’s docks, boats, floats, etc or are missing yours, we will post this information at the Town Hall. Please contact Chris McCooe, President of HRA at 413 245 3666 or cmccooe@curtis1000.com or call Elaine at the Town Hall at 413 245 7108 Ext 29. Leave your name and telephone number and a description of the item(s) you have or you are missing. Volunteers are needed to help clean up the Hamilton Reservoir shorelines – if you can help contact Chris (see above). Please include “HRA” in your email subject line and leave a message with your phone number if you telephone.

Get involved – Let’s keep
the momentum going.

Next meeting June 3, 2006
Holland Elementary School

Shock Chlorination is the procedure for cleaning and sanitizing a well with chlorine. Concentrations of Chlorine are 100-400 times the amount found in “CITY WATER.” The highly chlorinated water is held for 12-14 hours before it is flushed out and the system is ready for use. For wells the amount of chlorine needed is determined by the amount of standing water. The table below listed the amount of chlorine laundry bleach or powdered high test hypochlorite needed for wells. If in doubt it is better to use more chlorine than less.
To shock chlorinate a well:
1.Pour the proper amount of chlorine bleach or powdered chlorine dissolved in a small amount of water directly into the well.
2.Use a garden hose connected to a nearby faucet to wash down the inside of the well.
3.Open each faucet one by one and let the water run until a strong odor of chlorine is detected. If a strong odor is not detected add more chlorine.
4.Let the water stand in the system for at least 12-24 hours.
5.Flush the system of remaining chlorine. Start by turning on the outside faucets and letting them run until the smell dissipates. Let the water run on the ground to reduce the load on your septic system. Finally, run the indoor faucets until the system is completely flushed.
• Most water treatment equipment such as softeners and filters should be shock chlorinated also.. Check manufacturer’s literature FIRST. Do not chlorinate carbon or charcoal filters
• BE CAREFUL WEAR RUBBER GLOVES and GOGGLES> .Never mix chlorine with other chemicals such as ammonia- toxic gases form.
• Use the plain and usually least expensive laundry bleach .No not use “fresh scent” or other special products.
• Retest your water supply for bacteria after waiting 1-2 weeks. If this shock treatment doesn’t, work continuous disinfection may be necessary.