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Wicked Local Winchester: “Mixed Reviews” For Decision To Open North Reservoir Path

Wicked Local Winchester: “Mixed Reviews” For Decision To Open North Reservoir Path

On Saturday, Danielle McClean over at Wicked Local Winchester reported that there have been “mixed reviews” of the decision by the city of Winchester to open the North Reservoir path in the Fells to hikers and dogs.  McClean writes:

[Jim] Gibbons[, the town’s acting water and sewer operations manager,] said the decision to open the North Reservoir path was not backed by the town’s Water Department. He and his colleagues feared opening it up would risk contaminating the water with diseases such as cryptosporidium and coliform bacteria. He said the reservoirs have historically produced clean water. “You don’t want to make it worse and by putting people or dogs in the water you are taking a step toward it,” he said.

Gibbons is concerned about the effect of dogs jumping in the reservoir like in the photo below.

Wicked Local Staff Photo/Ann Ringwood

For the opposing view, McClean cites John Shawcross, “a retired water engineer and member of the committee tasked with studying the effects of increased access to the Fells reservoirs.”  Here’s what Shawcross had to say about any risk to the water supply:

Shawcross said it would be safe to open up the Middle Reservoir, but the town pulls water directly from the South Reservoir, which is why that one should remain closed. Water from the North Reservoir travels to the Middle Reservoir before spilling into the South Reservoir; it takes at least a year for water to travel to the water treatment plant from those areas, allowing the water to be subject to a natural cleaning process.

So when she points to “mixed reviews”, what McClean is really talking about are differing opinions among experts about what the potential health effects of the decision will be.  McClean talked to one person walking with her kid and her dogs on the North Reservoir path, but we really don’t see the public’s view of the decision reported here.

Given the differing opinions from the water experts, what do you think about the decision to open the North Reservoir path?  Is the added access to a previously restricted area of the Fells worth the risk?  Have you made use of the North Reservoir path since it opened?  Have you seen anyone engaging in activities that could contaminate the water?  Use the comments section below to leave your thoughts so we can really get a sense of what the reviews are for the current state of the North Reservoir path.

[Top Photo: Wicked Local Staff Photo/Ann Ringwood, Buy Photo]

Noah Kaplan

Noah is a board member for the Friends of the Fells. He set up the website and manages the Friends' online content. By day, he is an in-house attorney for a nationwide network of public interest non-profits. By night, he is Batman.
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