BOARD of HEALTH Annual Report 2018

The current Board of Health has enjoyed collaborating and learning our responsibilities as mandated by the state and directed by personal goals. Here are the projects we have achieved and considered:


Septic Betterment Funds—Coordination with Wendell money managers and town applicants for oversight of state loan money to assist town homeowners replace, repair or upgrade failure in home septic systems
MAVEN—The Board of Health researched methods to bring us into compliance with the Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiologic Network (MAVEN), the state’s mandated computerized surveillance and reporting system for infectious disease. We voted unanimously to join the Greenfield Health Department, whose public nurse will provide MAVEN services for us. This is the most cost efficient option for us and will provide the highest degree of patient confidentiality. We are currently awaiting approval of the contract by the Finance Committee and the Selectboard.


Diemand Farm Store, Wendell Country Store, Deja Brew special event and Old Home Day food vendors, Conservation Oriented House.
Title 5: agent present to witness inspections.
New septic systems.
Mt. Laurel Mobile Home Park (creation of inspection info sheet).
Kemsley Academy – water quality, kitchen, dormitories, and follow up on radiation filter change.
Swift River School – The required water testing has  shown a high level of sodium. A serious focus has been placed on these levels and bi-town meetings continue between Wendell and New Salem’s town and school officials. Discussion of lowering salt levels has resulted in changing responsibility of salting/sanding the school area from New Salem Highway Department to Wendell Highway Department as the ratio of salt/sand is lower in Wendell. There have also been signs posted in the school area indicating such.
Town Hall Kitchen – Kitchen had been closed due to minor yet relevant health infractions for a public kitchen. The new Kitchen Committee has coordinated financing of and methodology for remediation.
Pinebrook Camp: inspections of grounds, cabins, kitchen, bathrooms; review of staff, volunteer, and camper records; verified certifications are in place for lifeguard, medical director, camp nurse, verified procedures in place for handling campers medications and emergencies.

Other considerations and requests to Board

Report and complaint from new home owner of high levels of manganese and iron in well water despite the seller’s water test having perfect levels in water test taken to allow the sale. Water ALERT to home buyers: the Board of Health is considering strengthening town regulations for testing water before a home is sold.
Fiske Pond – Since it is not an official swimming area, but rather a conservation area, the water is untested for human swimming safety. There have been complaints about pollutants swimmers add to the water via insect repellants and sun screen lotions, both of which are toxic to the balance of pond life and despite official town sights warning of their toxicity.
AirBnB – There are deliberations at state level for health and safety for guests reserving bed and breakfast space and taxation and insurance issues for those who offer lodging. The Board is in abeyance until July 1 when AirBnB state laws will be enacted.
Spraying on the power lines – Alert from utilities that spraying herbicides resumes this spring. Discussion about consideration of ban of Round-Up on town properties.

Rabies report and charge from a vet sent along to dog owner.
Participation in All Town Boards Meeting about the solar projects.
Guest cabin regulations revisited and differences between that and secondary dwelling. Discussions about RV, mobile homes, chemical toilets and related regulations.
Meeting House – discussion with Meeting House Board members about possibility for proceeding with septic and acquisition of water source.
Railroad derailment along Millers River below Diemand Egg Farm
State report of e-coli in well water at Wendell State Forest ranger station at Ruggles Pond – drinking water off limits.
MAPHCO, COG, and MAHB meetings attended. Some topics covered: Board authority, Lyme disease, herbicide spraying, regulations, cannabis regulations.
Beaver removal requests.

The Wendell Board of Health continues to extend our sincere appreciation to our gentle and community oriented Health Agent, Wibby Swedberg, for her years of service. Her dedication, expertise, willingness to teach anyone and to work as a partner is a gift for the Town. Her knowledge is extensive and enables the Board to confidently progress with legal decisions.

The Board appreciates Town Coordinator, Nancy Aldrich, Town Clerk, Gretchen Smith, and Assessor Clerk, Helen Williams, as positive personalities, competent and supportive. Working with many caring and careful members of our town makes town business more than functional, but also enjoyable.


Nina Keller (Chair), Judith Diemand Bailey, Barbara Craddock

Clerk: Amy Palmer

Agent: Wibby Swedberg