Carlisle, Massachusetts

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Carlisle is a rural town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States.



The area comprising the town of Carlisle was first settled by English colonialists in 1651 when the land was parcels of the neighboring towns of Acton, Billerica, Chelmsford and Concord. Carlisle became a district of Concord in 1780 and was officially incorporated as a town in 1805. Carlisle contains a library, a country store, a dentist's office, an ATM machine and many residential buildings. Kimball Farms, an ice cream store fairly well known in the state of Massachusetts, has one of its three locations in Carlisle.


Carlisle is located about 8 miles (13 km) south-southwest of Lowell, and 23 miles (37 km) northwest of Boston. It borders the following towns: Concord, Acton, Westford, Chelmsford, Billerica, and Bedford.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.5 square miles (40.2 km²), of which 15.4 square miles (39.8 km²) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) (1.09%) is water.

Conservation land makes up about a quarter of the town's area. Besides town-owned land overseen by the town's conservation committee, Carlisle is home to Great Brook Farm State Park and a portion of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge neighboring the Concord River.

Environmental issues

Drinking water quality continues to be a major source of concern for residents of Carlisle. The town is geographically situated in an area of extensive wetland, high water table, and extensive ledge, so repair locations are often unavailable when septic systems fail. [1]

Voluntary water testing in May 2006 confirmed the presence of Coliform bacteria in four private wells within the town of Carlisle. The town's Board of Health indicated that one of the wells was located at Ferns Country Store.[2] As a result of these tests, the Town of Carlisle adopted supplementary regulations for sewage disposal in April 2008. The town said that the action was necessary because Carlisle has no town water backup. When wells are lost to pollution, there is no town water which can be brought in because the town government has no wells of its own.[1]

The water at the Carlisle Public School has also been a source of concern since January 2001, when it was determined that floor drains within the school did not comply with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regulations. The school drains made it possible to discharge photographic, art, and science waste materials directly into the septic system, putting groundwater at a high level of risk.[3] The town was also notified of a violation by the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) in January 2009 because of its failure to sample the water at Carlisle Public School in a timely manner.[4]

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