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Harwich lifts order on drinking water

Harwich expects water results by Thursday afternoon.
Harwich Water Department
Harwich expects water results by Thursday afternoon.

Update as of 6:00am April 12, 2024

This morning it's safe to drink the tap water again in North Harwich.

Residents had been forced to drink only bottled water for two days, after firefighting foam affected a public well.

That fire happened in neighboring Dennis.

The Do Not Drink order was lifted late yesterday after no foam was found in the public drinking water.

A second set of samples is being tested today as North Harwich awaits results of the safety of its drinking water.

Foam used to extinguish a fire on Tuesday in neighboring Dennis contaminated a public well. Harwich officials that night issued a Do Not Drink order, which notified residents that the foam was biodegradable and free of "forever chemicals" known as PFAS.

On Wednesday, the Harwich Water Department flushed its distribution system and urged residents to run their indoor and outdoor cold-water taps at the same time for 10 minutes.

"We'll be continuing to send out tests as days go on, to capture all the data we can," Noreen Donahue, vice chair of Harwich's Board of Water Commissioners, tells CAI.

"We're sending out a second batch of tests which were being taken this morning, just in case the first tests don't come out as we hope," Donahue said.

"Naturally, people are anxious, but they seem to be very happy with the amount of information that has been put out. And of course we are in touch with the DEP, which is part of the decision-making for when the ban gets lifted."

North Harwich remains under the Do Not Drink order until the Water Department can rule out contamination.

Click here for a map of the affected area, and here for a list of affected streets.

Bottled water is available to the public at the Treasure Chest until 2 p.m. and at the Fire Department until 6 p.m.

Updates can be found at the town's website.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.