Protect our water

The Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer lies under 7 towns in Southeastern Massachusetts: Bourne, Carver, Kingston, Middleboro, Plymouth, Plympton and Wareham. 92.9% of Carver is in the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer. 99.3 % of Plymouth is in the aquifer. This is the second largest aquifer in Massachusetts and covers about 200 miles. What happens in one town impacts the entire aquifer and other towns.

The water in the aquifer is “very susceptible to contamination due to aquifer characteristics such as high groundwater and high permeability of soils” according to the 2007 Action Plan. Water is the single most important resource in growing cranberries, according to the Plan. “Cranberry growers use a large fraction of the water extracted from the Plymouth-Carver Aquifer, as well as create and manage a large percentage of surface water that contributes recharge to the Aquifer.” 2007 Action Plan.

In most locations, the Aquifer lays close to the surface of the land. Where it intersects the surface of the land in kettle holes or depressions, it forms coastal plain ponds and wetlands. These ponds are known as as “Coastal Plain Ponds.”

Plymouth-Carver Sole Source Aquifer: seven towns rely on this water as their sole source of drinking water.

A unique feature of the Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens is the deposits of sand and gravel laid down by the glacier.  The sand is high quality and unique, and a highly sought-after market commodity. In 2007, the Town of Carver participated in the Plymouth-Carver Sole Source Aquifer Advisory Committee stating that “protection of this natural resource is ours to share as a resource we all depend on in our day to day lives.”  The plan has recommendations citing to:                  

Massachusetts Sand and Gravel Operation Guidelines: Vegetation and the upper soil horizons provide a pollution buffer for shallow groundwater. Improperly managed sand and gravel operations may reduce this protection and introduce hazardous materials and other toxins directly to groundwater. Massachusetts has developed guidelines for managing sand and gravel operations. The Massachusetts Clean Water Toolkit – NPS Management Manual provides guidance on this and many other subjects regarding nonpoint source pollution. (See http:/ /

The report recommended that Carver and other towns take steps to improve sand and gravel removal regulations.