Andover residents will start receiving letters about potential lead and copper in their water this week, said Chris Cronin, director of public works.

This year the annual water survey found levels of lead in six Andover homes that exceeded new standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, Cronin said while presenting at Monday’s Select Board meeting. Tests were conducted in 30 homes total, he said.

“We deliver clean lead-free drinking water to Andover homes, but it’s sometimes the older (private) service to the home where lead gets picked up,” Cronin explained.

The town has identified 151 homes and businesses that have lead and copper pipes bringing water into the buildings, but with most of those — 141 of them — issues lie in the privately owned pipes, he said.

Town officials mailed letters to those 151 property owners about this year’s water survey results, Cronin said. Now, he’s hoping that 60 owners work with the town to have their water surveyed to see if issues are more widespread, he said.

“The problem has been getting people to participate,” he said, but the free tests provided by the town are important for ensuring clean water, he said.

Other property owners in Andover will get similar letters about the water survey later this month, he said.

Lead in the water is a more serious issues for children and pregnant women, which caused the agency to enact stricter measures and lower the level that was deemed concerning. Lead is a toxin that can lead to developmental issues including slowed growth and behavioral issues in children and can lead pregnant women to have premature births, according to the agency.

Residents with older homes concerned they may have lead in their water are asked to call Andover Public Works Department. The department can schedule a free water test. The department can be reached at 978-623-8700.

Taxes

Monday night the board also got the first look at this coming year’s tax rate and voted to give seniors the full amount possible for the annual exemption.

This year 110 seniors applied for the means-tested tax exemption, Chief Assessor David Billard said.

The exemption amounts to $113,885 off the tax bills of some of Andover’s oldest residents who demonstrate financial need and have lived in town for 10 years or longer, Billard said. The seniors’ average tax bill will be cut by an average of $1,035 per home because of the exemption, he explained.

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