SUTTON -- High nitrate levels in the Village water system have occurred before, but in recent months, the levels have not gone down, and the town has now hired an engineering firm to help figure out why, and what needs to be done to make the drinking water safe to use again.

At the Thursday night meeting of the town's select board, selectmen met with Gary Leach from Leach Engineering regarding the nitrate levels. For several months customers on the system have been buying bottled water, including the town offices, the school and a number of private homes.

The nitrate levels are above a level safe for consumption by infants and pregnant women. The water has also tested positive for chloroform, officials said at Thursday's selectmen's meeting. Testing has been negative for e.coli, said Joe Solinsky, chairman of the town's select board.

Leach has been called in to help study what is causing the high nitrate levels and will do some further probing before recommending a course of action, which may ultimately call for a new well as one possible remedy, it was discussed. Celeste Girrell, chair of the Sutton School Board, was at the meeting to inquire about possible timeframes, since the school having to buy bottled water for students and staff to drink as well as for cooking is an expense that was not planned for.

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