Press Release

Press Release MassDEP Honors 91 Public Water Systems for Providing Clean and Healthy Water Supplies to Local Consumers

Public water systems commended for public service during calendar year 2019
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  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Media Contact for MassDEP Honors 91 Public Water Systems for Providing Clean and Healthy Water Supplies to Local Consumers

Joseph Ferson, Public Affairs Office

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) today announced that 91 public water systems across the Commonwealth have received awards of commendation for their noteworthy public service delivered during 2019. The criteria MassDEP uses include excellent water service to the public; no violations or non-compliance issues; and efforts that support public water supply services, such as source-water protection, water quality and conservation.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to recognize dedicated and exceptional drinking water providers who share a commitment to ensuring that residents have access to safe, clean, healthy drinking water,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Across the Commonwealth, their efforts in daily monitoring, testing, adjusting and collaborating with others in public health and environmental protection have demonstrated a high level of commitment to the safety and health of Massachusetts’ residents, and we thank them for their continued hard work and dedication.”

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, and each of the systems recognized have complete compliance with the regulations for calendar year 2019. 

For more than 30 years, during National Drinking Water Week in May, MassDEP has recognized and awarded certain exemplary systems that have reached meritorious service for their work during the previous calendar year. This year’s public ceremony, however, was held virtually and through the mail in December due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“MassDEP recognizes that last year, under pandemic conditions, public water systems faced significant challenges, yet these exceptional systems proved steadfast in providing continuous and consistently clean and safe potable water to their residents,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “There are many public water systems that do a great job and each year we find and elevate those systems that deserve special recognition and commendation.” 

2020 Public Water System Award Recipients (for Calendar Year 2019) 

Non-transient Non-Community Water Systems: Assurance Technology Corporation (Carlisle); Cape Cod Air Force Station; Chester/Middlefield Elementary School; Clarksburg Elementary School; Deer Island (MWRA); Drummer Boy Condominiums (Wellfleet); Foreign Auto Service (Charlton); Freetown/Lakeville Regional School District; Gabriel Abbott Memorial School (Florida); Heritage School (Charlton); Landmark Trust (Carver); Little Peoples College (Acushnet); Martha’s Vineyard Airport (Tisbury); MIT Haystack Observatory  (Tyngsborough); Oldcastle Infrastructure (Rehoboth); Pinecroft School (Rehoboth); Rowe Elementary School; SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility (Rochester); Stow Fire and Community Center; Sysco Boston, LLC (Plympton); The Home for Little Wanderers (Plymouth); The New Testament Church (Plymouth); Twin Oaks Farm Learning Center Inc. (Rehoboth); VA Boston Healthcare System (Brockton); and Wee Forest Folk (Carlisle).

Small Community Water Systems: Ayer Road Properties LLC (Harvard); Beechwood Point Condos (Mashpee); Bishops Landing Condominiums (Stoughton); Curtis Hill Condominium  (Tyngsborough); Essex Water Department; Gosnold Water Department; Hampden Housing Authority; Horton Estates Condominium Trust, Inc. (Rehoboth); Mount St Mary’s Abbey (Wrentham); Pine Ridge Condominiums at Sampson’s Pond (Carver); Pinetree Village (Carver); Pleasant Water (Wellfleet); Sawyer Hill Ecovillage (Berlin); Stones Throw Condos (Truro); Town of Eastham; White Birch Garden Apartments (Hampden); and Woodhaven Elder Housing Committee (Sherborn).

Medium and Large Community Water Systems: Amesbury DPW Water Division; Aquarion Co., Hingham/Hull/Cohasset; Bourne Water District; Brewster Water Department; Buzzards Bay Water District; Canton Water Department; Cohasset Water Department; Dedham Westwood Water District; Easton Water Division; Edgartown Water Department; Fairhaven Water Department; Halifax Water Department; Hanson Water Department; Harwich Water Department; Inima USA/Aquaria LLC; Lynn Water and Sewer Commission; Mansfield Water Division; Mashpee Water District; Middleborough Water Supply; Massachusetts Water Resource Authority; Needham Water Department; North Attleboro Water Department; North Chelmsford Water District; North Raynham Water District; Norton Water Department; Norwell Water Department; Pinehills Water Company, Inc.; Provincetown Water Department; Salem/Beverly Water Supply Board; Sandwich Water District; Sharon Water Department; Upper Cape Regional Water Cooperative; Walpole Water Department; and the Wayland Water Department. 

Consecutive Water Systems: Acushnet Water Department; Boston Water and Sewer Commission (MWRA); Brookline Water and Sewer Division; Framingham Water Department (MWRA); Lexington Water Department (MWRA); Lynnfield Water District (MWRA); Mattapoisett River Valley Water Department; Meadowbrook Water Trust; Rings Island Water District; Schooner Pass Trustees Condominiums; Swampscott Water Department (MWRA); Town of Westport; Watertown Water Department (MWRA); Weston Water Department; and the Whitman Water System.

Regional Recognition Awards

  • New Bedford Department of Public Infrastructure: New Bedford provides water service to New Bedford, Acushnet, a portion of Freetown, and seasonally to Dartmouth. The public water service makes use of the State Revolving Fund (SRF) program to assist in the financing of projects needed to preserve reliable service to its customers. New Bedford’s proactive planning and actions stretches its funds to service its surface water treatment plant, 78-million-gallon finished water reservoir, 287 miles of water main and over 24,000 service accounts. Currently, the projects underway include: lead service line replacement project, with 1,224 lead services replaced from main to meter and a Phase II recently awarded ($10.2 million); rehabilitation of its Quittacas Surface Water Treatment Plant ($16 million); rehabilitation of its 78 million gallon High Hill Reservoir roof, including transmission main, valve and structures work ($13.7 million);  and replacing and upgrading large meters and conversion to Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) ($4.3 million); and actively replacing water main throughout the city with other funding sources.  
  • Southwick Water Department: This public water system maintains its own sources and purchases water from Springfield Water and Sewer Commission. It is well-staffed, well-run, plans for the future and addresses issues as evidenced from MassDEP's most recent sanitary survey. It successfully completed the design, permitting and installation of the necessary pump station/treatment building. MassDEP recently conducted the final inspection virtually and issued its approval.
  • Webster Water Department: After years of continued water quality complaints from elevated levels of iron and manganese in the water, the Town of Webster proceeded with the piloting, design and construction of a new water treatment plant with filtration media to treat the water. The new plant went online in December 2019, treating water from one well while new well pumps and level transducers were installed in two others. In 2020, MassDEP approved a final activation of the Memorial Beach WTP with all wells online on January 31, 2020. Water in town has improved, and complaints have been reduced.  

Energy Conservation Awards

  • Bernardston Fire and Water District: The District installed a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system at the Pratt Field Wellhead Area and installed a soft-start and variable-speed drive to the Sugar House pumping station. As a result, the District has achieved Net-Zero energy status by reducing electric demand and generating over 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year to power the water pumps and associated equipment to serve the water needs of the community.  
  • Lynnfield Water District: The District replaced their oversized motors and pumps and installed a variable-speed drive to optimize their pumping system. Additionally, the heating system at the booster station was upgraded with a more-efficient natural gas fired boiler. As a result, the District will save energy and over $7,300 a year. 
  • Middleborough Water Supply: The town installed a ground-mounted, dual-access tracker, solar photovoltaic system to the new Water Treatment Plant. This innovative project will provide clean, renewable generation by effectively tracking and maximizing the sun's power. 
  • Worcester’s Robert L. Moylan Jr. Water Treatment Facility: The City of Worcester received a Massachusetts $200,000 Gap II energy state grant for replacement of its existing 20-year-old ozone generation system used in disinfection, with a new Liquid Oxygen System. This $4.9 million upgrade to the plant produces higher ozone concentrations and optimizes water treatment, while using less electricity.

Water Conservation Award
Norfolk Water Division: From 2007 to 2011, the Norfolk Department of Public Works struggled with high unaccounted for water (UAW), peaking at 52 percent in 2008. Since that time, Norfolk has made tremendous strides in finding and fixing leaks and promoting water conservation, resulting in a three-year average UAW of 11 percent for 2016 through 2018. On many occasions, Norfolk has been able to identify and respond to events such as: running toilets, water leaks, and broken meters that a customer might not have been aware of. This quick response time helps to reduce unexpected consumption and promotes conservation of their water resources.
In 2019, Norfolk performed an analysis of its water rates and billing plan and because of that analysis, changed the bi-annual billing to quarterly, allowing customers to track water consumption more closely than with bi-annual billing. The type of billing provides current water usage in gallons and compares it to the previous billing period and to the same period of the previous year. Norfolk also plans to move metered data to a web-based platform which will allow customers real-time monitoring of their water usage. Another goal of Norfolk's water conservation program is to review customer water usage in the June to August high-use period in order to classify each customer into a tier. Each customer will receive a letter based on their tier.  Norfolk mails water conservation brochures to customers outlining voluntary actions to reduce indoor and outdoor water usage and provides conservation tips on their web site. Norfolk DPW consistently provide education to customers on the meter reading system and hand out conservation rulers and dye tablets for leak detection.

Distinguished Operator Award
Shawn Meunier
: As the primary operator for Devens, a community system of 6,500, Shawn Meunier serves as the certified operator for a number of small systems. Devens has proactively been addressing PFAS contamination at its three sources for the past couple of years. With emergency treatment installed and pilot testing new technologies, Mr. Meunier has been very responsive and conscientious in his duties, working around the clock (even before COVID) to provide exemplary assistance to the water system, its customers, and MassDEP regulators. 

Systems Taking Action to Reduce Lead (STARL) Award
Lynn Water and Sewer Commission (LWSC): The Commission is recognized for its work in collaboration with the Lynn Public Schools. The STARL award is given to systems that take action to reduce lead in school drinking water and do so with extremely encouraging results.  This award is given to the LWSC for its work in collaboration with the city’s public schools for its work in creating a comprehensive binder for each school to use for reference information when receiving questions, including compliance information. All school principals and the LWSC meet to help educate the administrators with refresher courses and updates are also given. Their plan is to shift into a triannual sampling, doing one-third of schools in 2021, a third in 2022 and a third in 2023 and continuing that procedure, while including a baseline sampling event for the town library. While sampling the schools, they are continuously inventorying fixtures to catch any non-consumption fixtures that may have been missed previously, noting any other anomalies. 

More information on water supply operations across the state can be found here.

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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