During the on-site inspection, the farmers were informed that they should be a public water system and that they had already been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection MA DEP. Father and daughter, Andrew and Chelcie Martin, met with RCAP on a chilly spring morning to talk about what had been happening to this farm in the cozy apartment in which the seasonal laborers were soon to reside again.
The situation had reached a stalemate. RCAP Solutions provided an emergency response plan and cross connection survey as required by the order. Through the entire process both the business owners and the primacy agency were looking for more information, but messages were not getting through and communication was failing.
As with many of the rural locations in which RCAP technical assistance providers TAPs get the opportunity to work, it was a beautiful site to visit. Andrew and Chelcie Martin are currently the third and fourth generation and run a fully retail operation with pick-your-own apples, peaches and blueberries, as well as a retail and bake shop, a maze and other family-friendly fun and entertainment.
It is unclear how this detail had been missed, but whatever the cause, the reports were rejected. Chelcie Martin recounted the year that the health inspection of the labor housing had found that the silverware needed polishing. The next step was to review the administrative consent order that had been issued to the water system and make a list of the requirements.
The Martins were trying to finish pruning the apple trees and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their seasonal help to assist. They explained the arduous process of complying with the many labor and health laws under which a family-owned farm is subject.
They are also thankful that the services provided by RCAP Solutions lightened the financial burden they had originally expected with becoming a public water system. The Martins were surprised: Very understandably, the owners were confused at the new designation as they had operated the business without the additional requirements and regulations of being a public water system for generations.
The order was fully resolved and the Martins were ready for their busy season to begin in early August.
These attempts at discussion and compromise proved unsuccessful. For the entire history of the business, the farm has utilized one drilled well with no treatment for the labor residence, public bathrooms and operation of the cider press and snack bar. Even after achieving full compliance, she remains vigilant about the new requirements and responsibilities of being a public water system which include maintaining her licensure, water testing and reporting.
The inspector had recently retired and the town was now utilizing an association of boards who were not familiar with the farm.
Stow is a small, quiet town of approximately 6, residents. The laborers were due any day and she spent hours late into the night shining each piece of silverware in order to not delay their much-awaited arrival.
They had also heard horror stories from fellow farms who had become public water systems, undergone testing and were now burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in contractor, testing and equipment fees.
Chelcie Martin volunteered to become the certified operator for the system. The Martins were hopeful that by reducing connections or usage, they could avoid the designation of a public water system and the additional requirements, fees and costs.
MA DEP had seemed pleased with the progress and all action items had been completed so RCAP Solutions closed the project, but a few months later, it was time for the Martins to submit their first annual report for the water system. When Clifford Martin purchased the acre farm inhe sold apples, pears and peaches both wholesale and retail.
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