For Immediate Release - May 09, 2017

MassDEP Announces Winners of the 2017 Public Water Systems Awards

Awards Ceremony Held as Part of 'National Drinking Water Week'

DEVENS - As part of "National Drinking Water Week," the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) today announced 55 recipients of the annual Public Water Systems Awards. The awards, presented since 1991, acknowledge the many dedicated drinking water professionals whose accomplishments in maintaining consistent and safe delivery of  potable water to the residents of the Commonwealth are worthy of special commendation.  

"During last year's unprecedented drought, the work of these exemplary public water systems became more important than ever," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. "The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to recognize the drinking water professionals who work hard every day to ensure Massachusetts residents have a safe, reliable water supply."

"The Commonwealth is fortunate to have 1,687 public water systems that combine to perform an essential public service that is vital to our daily lives," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "Whether in drought or times of abundant precipitation, each year, we take time to recognize some systems for their special accomplishment that we feel merit recognition and commendation."

"National Drinking Water Week" recognizes the importance of source-water protection, water quality and conservation, as well as the value, importance and fragility of the Commonwealth's water resources. MassDEP works with drinking water utilities to make sure that the water delivered to consumers meets all federal and state standards and is clean and abundant.

The following 44 award recipients, listed below, were categorized and judged based on the size and type of system (community and population served) and their compliance records.

Non-transient Non-community Public Water Systems: These are water systems that serve at least 15 connections or 25 persons at least four hours a day, four days week and for a period of more than six months a year.  

  • Chester/Middlefield Elementary School (Chester)
  • Riverbridge North Complex (Berlin)
  • 85 Swanson Road, Winstanley Enterprises (Boxborough)
  • 330 Codman Hill Road (Boxborough)
  • Bright Horizons Daycare (Boxborough)
  • Heritage School (Charlton)
  • The Appleworks (Harvard)
  • Concord Hillside/Renaissance (Harvard)
  • Horn Packaging (Lancaster)
  • Kids A Lot Daycare (Stow)
  • Assurance Technology Corporation (Carlisle)
  • Wee Forest Folk (Carlisle)
  • MIT Millstone Laboratory (Tyngsborough)
  • Mendon Town Hall/Police Station

Small Community Systems: Water systems that serve at least 15 connections or 25 persons a year to a population of no more than 3,300.  

  • Applewood Condominium Corporation (Boxborough)
  • Overlook Life Care Community (Charlton)
  • Briarwood Townhomes (Hubbardston)

Medium and Large Community Systems: Medium systems serve a population greater than 3,300, but no more than 50,000; large systems serve more than 50,000.

  • Whitinsville Water Company
  • Worcester DPW, Water Supply Division
  • Dedham Westwood Water District
  • Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
  • Harwich Water Department
  • Hingham/Hull Aquarion Water Company

Consecutive Systems: Water systems that receive some or all of its finished water from one or more wholesale systems either through a direct connection or through the distribution system of one or more consecutive systems.

  • Northborough Water Department (MWRA)
  • Mattapoisett River Valley Water District Southborough DPW Water Division (MWRA)
  • Belmont Water Department (MWRA)
  • Beverly Water Department
  • Boston Water and Sewer Commission (MWRA)
  • Brookline Water and Sewer Division (MWRA)
  • Meadowbrook Water Trust (Dover)
  • Framingham Water Department (MWRA)
  • Lexington Water Department (MWRA)
  • Hanscom Family Housing (Lincoln)
  • Marblehead Water Department (MWRA)
  • Reading Water Department
  • Revere Water Department (MWRA)
  • Rings Island Water District (Salisbury)
  • Swampscott Water Department (MWRA)
  • Watertown Water Department (MWRA)
  • Southfield Redevelopment Authority (Weymouth)

Consistent Performer Recognition

  • Orleans Water Department
  • Lynn Water and Sewer Commission   
  • Cosgrove Realty  (Boxborough)

The remaining 12 awards were given based on the system's outstanding achievement and recognition.

Energy Conservation
North Sagamore Water District: This district installed a ground-mounted solar system at the James A. Morgan water treatment plant (WTP) in Bourne. MassDEP's Drinking Water Program approved this project on February 26, 2016 and it became operational in October 2016. Over the next 20 years, the North Sagamore Water District's solar project will generate approximately $500,000 in revenues by leasing the land with a net-metering agreement. This project is anticipated to reduce the District's total annual electricity bill by approximately 30 percent and provide 60 percent renewable power to their operations. The district plans to reinvest these energy savings into upgrading their water infrastructure.

Water Conservation

  • Acton Water Supply District
  • Pepperell DPW Water Division
  • Abington/Rockland Joint Water Works

These systems have all met the 65 Residential Gallons Per Capita Day (RGPCD) Water Use and 10 percent Unaccounted for Water (UAW) performance standard based on their reviewed and approved 2015 data; implemented at a minimum mandatory water use restrictions in 2016 (all of the three proposed winners implemented one day or less water use restrictions in 2016); websites have a reasonable amount of conservation-related information; while not required, all three winners used less water in 2015 than in 2014.

Northeast Massachusetts - Source Protection
Rockport  DPW - Water Filtration Division: For the successful approval that allowed Rockport to acquire two parcels of land with an area of approximately 1.15 acres for water supply protection purposes.

Northeast Massachusetts - Regional Recognition
Quincy Water Department: Quincy has a robust Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement Program in which the department replaces much more than the regulations require. They secured a $1.5 million interest-free loan from the MWRA to replace the last 118 LSL and they completed a full service line replacement from the main-to-house.

Southeast Massachusetts - Source Protection
Sandwich Water District : This district is commended not only for maintaining excellence on source water protection for all its groundwater sources, but also for its efforts to improve source protection by continuing to acquire available parcels of land in order to expand the source protection area for water supply. The district utilizes 10 wells that serve a population of 17,775 in the winter and an estimate of 23,000 consumers in the summer. Since 2003, the district has acquired a total area of 124 acres to ensure source water protection for its groundwater sources, which are located within the town.

Southeast Massachusetts - Regional Recognition
Raynham Center Water District: This district demonstrates excellent managerial capacity. Through proper planning, the district proactively maintains its infrastructure and implements capital projects. The PWS supplies water to 9,780 people, operates three greensand filtration treatment plants, and utilizes the latest operational technology.

Central Massachusetts - Regional Recognition
Hudson Water Supply: The Town of Hudson Water Supply serves a population of 18,500 customers. In 2013, HWS entered into a consent order with MassDEP to address continuous dirty water complaints from customers. HWS's focus was to eliminate the elevated iron (from 1 source producing 0.95 MGD) and elevated manganese (from a different source producing 0.45 MGD). These sources accounted for two of their five groundwater sources. Ultimately, the solution was to redirect both sources to an existing treatment plant 1.5 miles away. That treatment plant needed upgrades, which included: going from greensand to greensand plus; installing new air headers, underdrains and 46 automatic filter control valves; and new turbidity meters. In addition, all chemical feed systems were brought up to compliance and new backup generators were installed at each well in case of power loss. Finally, the entire drinking water control system was improved to include new Radio Transmittance Units on all tanks, pump stations, treatment facilities and all tied to a new SCADA system. The entire system can now be monitored, operated and controlled remotely.

Western Massachusetts - Source Protection
Bachelor Knolls in Granby: This system, specifically President Robert Mason, worked for years to comply with the two sources/two-day storage requirement with an improved source location and subsequently completed other system improvements. Bachelor Knolls is a small community system serving 31 homes in the Town of Granby. Since the 1950s, the PWS operated with a single well until a backup well was installed in 2012. Tree clearing has occurred at the well site to protect the wells and power lines from potential damage. The original buried steel water storage tanks were recently replaced, and an emergency generator was added to operate the water system during power outages.  

Western Massachusetts - Regional Recognition
Option Institute and Fellowship (Sheffield): The PWS has made improvements over the last few years. The PWS has clearly posted equipment and procedures for taking actions, measurements, logs, maintenance and has only one Survey item: an ongoing reminder about non-conforming sources and the limitations related to such. The PWS's sources, structures, and treatment are all well-maintained.

Distinguished Operator Performance
Kenneth Dunn of the Holden Water and Sewer Division
In February, 2017, Holden received 24 containers labeled potassium hydroxide from their chemical supplier. As a normal operation, Kenneth Dunn started pumping one of the containers into their chemical day tank and noticed an ammonia-like odor. Since potassium hydroxide is odorless, Kenneth knew something was wrong. He immediately turned off the chemical pump and the well and started the emergency notification process. Holden consequently had to thoroughly clean the chemical feed system, including the day tank and replenish it with confirmed potassium hydroxide so the plant could go back online. Ken's awareness and rapid response to an unusual situation kept what could have been a significant public health situation from occurring.

The tasks facing state drinking water programs and public water systems continue to be extremely challenging, especially in an era of scarce resources. The drinking water infrastructure in many cities is aging and presents daunting resource demands. The nation continues to be challenged by new and emerging drinking water contaminants associated with an industrial society.

Sponsors for this year's awards event include: Barnstable County Water Utilities Association, Mass Rural Water Association, MassDEP, Massachusetts Water Works Association, New England Water Works Association, Middlesex/Worcester County Water Works Association, Plymouth County Water Works Association, RCAP Solutions, and Western Massachusetts Waterworks Association.

Systems that have won for three consecutive years are not eligible, but are issued a letter of commendation and invited to attend the awards presentation. Four-time winners, however, do become eligible once again, after a one-year hiatus.  

For more information on drinking water in Massachusetts, turn here.Drinking Water

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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