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Closing Becket spring: Water abuse

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By Friday, Apr 12, 2019 Letters 3

To the editor:

Sadly, it is with close to certainty that my speaking up for the closing of the Becket spring will not change what is already done. My friend was given 11 months to live 16 years ago. Among the many things he taught me about physical health was drinking spring water. I’ve been drinking from the Becket spring for five years.  I have been off bipolar medication for seven years.

I’ve heard, in addition to pathology-centric science, the spring was closed because, at a Becket town meeting, certain officials didn’t want “those” people stopping for spring water. A lot of “those” people have fewer financial resources and/or are Eastern European, so there’s also xenophobic and classist reasons for shutting the spring.

Lastly, that the water, some of the densest material, levitates through the earth, carving through granite, marble and quartz to emerge, always 40 degrees, winter or summer, is still a mystery to science. It is known that animals go out of their way to drink from springs and that our collective human history is built on reverence for springs.

With what is happening locally with Great Barrington’s water, to nationally with water protectors being vilified, it is quite emblematic of our times to cut off access to free water.

Luke Pryjma
Great Barrington

3 Comments   Add Comment

  1. concerned says:

    That is so sad that they are closing it.
    My Granddaughter looks forward to stopping there ,when we drive through the area . We fill our drinking vessals and head on to our destination. Water tasted so good,Shame on those who chose to take away Our rights to enjoy lifes natural pleasures.

  2. Also Concerned says:

    Luke Pryjma…. there are other springs in the Northwest Connecticut corner that are available if you need spring water for your health. Sad that this one is gone.

  3. Michael Lavery, Selectman says:

    Hey there,
    Becket Selectman here. I’d like to respond to some of the original poster’s concerns and politely disagree with the accusations of overt classism or racism. I have only been a selectman for two years and this Becket Spring issue has been known and on the town’s radar for over a year and a half of those two years. The Department of Environment Protection (DEP) out of Springfield issued the first order of conditions in July of 2017 due to many failures in testing for coliform. There were only two options close the spring (make it inaccessible), or remediate the problem (install a UV filtration system).
    The other selectmen and myself didn’t want to close the over one-hundred year old spring. We took a vote as a town in 2018 at the annual town meeting to undergo an engineering study at the cost of just under $15,000 to design and spec out a UV filtration system that would withstand the test of time and the elements in a rugged hilltown area with public 24/7 access (meaning it had to be made of concrete). The townsfolk voted in favor of the study and the pricetag for the UC filtration system after months of work by the engineering firm was over $85,000 not including a backup generator or heater. We went once again to the town and had a special meeting to see whether the taxpayers thought it was a wise use of nearly $100,000 and recurring annual costs of ~$2,500 . This time the vote failed to pass.

    In the end the town worked with an outside non-profit who is trying to re-open the spring. The spring is not on town property and that was always an issue since we held all of the liability, but did not own the land where the spring resides. There were other issues like the spring being on a blind-curve with poor visibility. The issue of out-of-towners coming to use the spring did come up, but only in the context of the neighboring towns (the spring is barely 100 feet from the border with the town of Chester) and the lack of response from their leadership to help in the funding for the spring. There was never any discussion of the character or ethnicity of any spring users.

    I hope that you and others will be able to use the spring again someday soon. The non-profit that was formed is called Becket Cares. If you truly care about the future of this spring then maybe you should contact them. The Charity Navigator page for them (a tool that rates charities) is https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.profile&ein=830641956# . They may also have a Facebook page if you do an internet search.

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