- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for MassDEP Announces Winners of 2019 Public Water System Awards
Joseph Ferson, Public Affairs Office
DEVENS — In recognition of National Drinking Water Week, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) today announced the 61 recipients of the annual Public Water Systems Award during a ceremony held in Devens. Each year, MassDEP honors the state’s many dedicated drinking water professionals, while acknowledging certain noteworthy accomplishments that involve excellent water service to the public.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to recognize drinking water providers across the Commonwealth who share the administration’s commitment to ensuring that residents have access to safe, clean, healthy drinking water,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Through continued efforts, monitoring, and collaboration, the recipients of Public Water Systems awards have demonstrated a high-level of commitment to the safety and health of Massachusetts’ residents, and we thank them for their continued dedication and hard work.”
“MassDEP recognizes exceptional performance among our state’s many public water supply systems,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “There are many public water systems that do a great job and we have determined that these systems deserve special recognition and commendation today for their exceptional service to the public.”
May 5-11, 2019 is “National Drinking Water Week,” a time to recognize 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 48 public water systems in the different categories of non-transient, non-community, small community, consecutive, and medium and large community water systems all have excellent compliance with state and federal drinking water regulations. Not only do they have complete compliance with regulations for calendar year 2018, they also have had no violations in the past five years. These systems have gone beyond compliance by testing for secondary contaminants and by having adequate capacity. Systems that have won for three consecutive years are not eligible, but are issued a letter of commendation.
There are also four operators who will receive awards for their merit; and two schools and 12 other public water systems that will receive awards for water and energy conservation, lead reduction, source protection and special recognition.
Non-transient Non-community Systems are non-residential water systems that serve at least 25 persons over six months or more, such as schools, factories, and office buildings from their own private wells:
Auburn – Montessori Center, Inc.
Bolton – The International
Carlisle – Assurance Technology Corp.
Carlisle – Wee Forest Folk
Charlton – Heritage School
Chester – Chester/Middlefield Elementary School
Mendon – Town Hall Campus
Plymouth – The New Testament Church
Princeton – Post Office Place Realty Trust
Rehoboth – Pinecroft School
Rehoboth – Rotondo Precast
Sagamore – Cape Cod Air Force Station
Small Community Systems serve residential communities with a population of 3,300 or less:
Barre – Barre MHP/Waterwheel Village
Berlin – Northbrook Village I
Berlin – Northbrook Village II
Berlin – Sawyer Hill Ecovillage
Boxborough – Applewood Community Corporation
Carver – Pine Ridge Condominiums at Sampson’s Pond
Eastham – Town of Eastham
Rehoboth – Horton Estates Condominium Trust, Inc.
Shelburne Falls – Shelburne Falls Fire District
Sherborn – Woodhaven Elderly Housing Committee
Medium and Large Community Systems serve residential communities with a population of 3,301 to 49,999 (for Medium) and more than 50,000 (for Large):
Brewster – Brewster Water Department
Dedham/Westwood – Dedham/Westwood Water District
Easton – Easton Water Division
Edgartown – Edgartown Water Department
Harwich – Harwich Water Department
Hingham/Hull – Aquarion Water Company
Lynn – Lynn Water and Sewer Commission
MWRA – Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
North Attleboro – North Attleboro Water Department
North Chelmsford – North Chelmsford Water District
Orleans – Orleans Water Department
Plymouth – Pinehills Water Company, Inc.
Provincetown – Provincetown Water Department
Randolph/Holbrook – Randolph/Holbrook Water Board
Seekonk – Seekonk Water District
Southbridge – Southbridge Water Department
Wayland – Wayland Water Department
Consecutive Systems serve residential communities that receive some or all of its water from one or more wholesale public water systems:
Auburn – Elm Hill Water District
Boston – Boston Water and Sewer Commission (MWRA)
Brookline – Brookline Water and Sewer Division (MWRA)
Dover – Meadowbrook Water Trust
Framingham – Framingham Water Department (MWRA)
Mattapoisett – Mattapoisett River Valley Water District
Swampscott – Swampscott Water Department (MWRA)
Watertown – Watertown Water Department (MWRA)
Weston – Weston Water Department
The following public water systems or water professionals were also honored today:
- Groton Water Department
Groton implemented a comprehensive water pumping and energy management upgrade that improved water quality for customers and allowed the town to save more than $8,000 per year from its new updated electrical peak-demand operations.
- The Water Conservation Award is given to those systems that achieved the following: met the average of 65 RGPCD (residential gallons per capita daily) and 10 percent unaccounted for water usage standards; implemented minimum mandatory water-use restrictions for 2018; provided a web site showing conservation-related information; and, while not required, all four used less water than the previous year.
- Spencer Water Department
- Sterling Water Department
- Templeton Municipal Light and Water Plant
- Wilmington Water Department
- Fitchburg Water Department
Fitchburg Water Department, through land acquisitions over the last year, has secured six parcels of land for a total of more than 173 acres for the purpose of source protection.
The Systems Taking Action to Reduce Lead (STARL) Award is given to systems and schools that take action to reduce lead in school drinking water and do so with extremely encouraging results. The award is given to both the water system and the school district.
- Littleton Water Department and Littleton Public Schools
- Medway Water Department and Medway Public Schools
Distinguished Operator Awards
- Robert Murch – Acton Water District, et al.
Robert Murch is an operator for Drinking Water Services, LLC, a contract operator for a number of small water systems, including Acton Water District, that have had significant water quality or compliance issues. Murch has worked tirelessly to bring them into full compliance, a task that has over the past year included nights and weekends installing emergency disinfection or trouble-shooting treatment systems. Murch prioritizes communication with MassDEP and maintains excellent recordkeeping and has been lauded by his clients for his efforts and results.
- Dan DiNicola, Chris MacKay, John Kellett and Mark Riopelle – Lawrence Water Works Operators, Woodard & Curran
These four operators are being recognized for their emergency response efforts on September 13, 2018, when excessive pressure in natural gas lines in the Merrimack Valley caused a series of explosions and fires throughout Lawrence. Communication was lost to all the pump stations for a time, and these specific operators, knew it was critical to get to the pump stations to check the water levels and manually operate the pumps if necessary to make sure there was enough water and pressure for firefighters to battle the myriad of fires burning. Complicating their efforts was the fact that thousands of people were evacuating their homes during rush hour, causing gridlock on streets. These operators faced with this impasse parked their trucks and walked/ran to the pump stations. Their efforts to keep the community of Lawrence safe are noted here and greatly appreciated by all.
Regional Recognition Awards
- Sunderland Water District
The Sunderland water district faces many of the same challenges as other small water systems, including compliance challenges. The Water District has directed their attention to fully comply with Safe Drinking Water Act and other Drinking Water Regulations for several years. The District manages its water use and has significantly reduced its consumption during the last two to three years.
- MCI Norfolk/Cedar Junction, Walpole
This water supplier is being recognized for improvements made to their water quality and quantity. They developed two new sources, which had iron and manganese that needed appropriate treatment. A new treatment plant was built and two new operators were hired. These improvements increased the quantity and quality of water now available to the system. All of these improvements, and many others, have made the MCI Norfolk public water system solid and reliable.
- The Mashpee Water District
The Mashpee water district faced contamination of per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in a well due to its proximity to a nearby military base. The system took immediate steps to mitigate the problem: took the well out of service; negotiated agreements with the U.S. Air Force; hired a consultant; and, applied for a MassDEP Drinking Water construction permit. Currently, the Air Force is constructing a granular activated carbon system to remove the contamination. The condition of the facilities and organization of the records reflect a high level of professionalism and pride taken by the district’s employees.
- The Melrose Water Department
The Melrose water system is recognized for having made great strides in removing lead service lines (LSL). Melrose, as a result of exceeding the lead action level in its system during 2017, initiated a LSL removal program and apprised that there were 819 lead service lines. The town was determined to reduce that number to 574. The plan was to remove 58 LSL by October 2018, but they exceeded that goal by successfully removing 72 full, 24 partial, and 32 goosenecks.
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 the Western Massachusetts Waterworks Association.
More information on drinking water in the Commonwealth can be found here.