LYNNFIELD — Recently, the LCWD Board of Commissioners, Superintendent John Scenna and the CDM Smith Project team updated District members on the ongoing efforts to identify supplemental water sources for the future.
A full PowerPoint presentation can be found on the LCWD website by clicking here.
Following an extensive study of options for supplementing its water supply, including a recent review of possible partners from which to “wheel” supplemental water through, consulting partner CDM Smith has recommended that the District pursue an interconnection with the Town of Wakefield. Doing so would enable the District to draw up an additional 25% of its current supply capacity from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority through the Wakefield water system.
The recommended approach includes supplementing the LCWD groundwater system with MWRA water via a connection with the Town of Wakefield at Bay State Road and Main Street. To accomplish the connection, construction of minimal water main in both Wakefield and Lynnfield would be required. The connection would also include a metered vault within the right of way at this intersection. The amount of pipeline upgrades in both communities would increase if the District desires to acquire additional flow (up to 575 gallons per minute) in the future.
While CDM Smith did not recommend drawing that amount now, Superintendent Scenna noted a desire to permit for the maximum withdrawal the proposed connection could provide as part of the initial application. Doing so would ease the permitting burden in the future and limit the scope of work solely to pipeline upgrades, should the District seek to enhance the amount it withdraws from the MWRA.
Additionally, CDM Smith recommends completing studies and initiating projects around treatment of existing groundwater systems at the Main Street and Glen Drive Wells, as well as seasonal operations at pump station one in the North Coastal Watershed on Phillips Road.
“These filtering and pumping upgrades would happen in parallel with the new Wakefield connection and create a comprehensive capital program”, said Michael Nelson, P.E., project engineer and manager with CDM. “Once all is complete, the LCWD system would then be served by equally treated groundwater sources from the Ipswich Watershed, the North Coastal Watershed and the MWRA.”.
At a follow up meeting of the Board that took place on Tuesday, Oct. 13, Commissioner Jack Adelson praised the recommended approach: “It checks all the boxes, it supplements our summer supply, gives the system more options year round and addresses the inconsistent water quality. Investing in our existing system is definitely a plus. It’s a middle ground solution that addresses the concerns of all parties and allows for flexibility in the future.”
Andy Youngren, who is completing his second year on the Board, likes the “ability to still control most of the rate by using groundwater. MWRA water will be expensive and we will pay a premium for it. This approach gets us the additional water we need but still keeps most of the supply within our own control.”
The anticipated cost of CDM’s recommended connection with Wakefield to acquire MWRA water is approximately $2.8 million (which includes the interbasin permitting and MWRA connection fees). The District’s Board of Commissioners are currently deliberating that option, and plan to engage district membership in order to gauge their feedback and level of interest.
Chairman Joe Maney concluded the discussion by urging district members to remain engaged in the process and be active participants going forward.
Scenna and the board will now begin to work with their third party rate consultant and outside accountant to fully evaluate the financial impact of these projects on the District and how best to absorb these expenses moving forward.
As options to “wheel” water through the MWRA continue to be reviewed, in the coming weeks, the District will be following up with representatives from both Wakefield and the Lynnfield Water District to discuss these options, costs and the viability of a possible partnership with each entity in the future. “Everything is still on the table”, according to Scenna.
The appropriation for any capital project would first need to be approved by voters at a future LCWD meeting. Superintendent Scenna recommended the board target next spring’s Annual District Meeting to formally propose an option to voters.
If approved, the work would be completed over the course of up to the next three to four years, and would likely include additional costs related to the improvement of existing LCWD infrastructure that could total up to $10 million.
“While nothing is close to finalized, CDM Smith has recommended a path forward that will achieve our goals of vastly improving water quality and availability and do so in a way that’s cost effective and efficient. ” Superintendent Scenna. “We won’t move forward without the buy-in of our District as a whole, and we plan to engage our members throughout this process so that they are informed about and involved in the decision making process. We are excited to take this next step.”
Scenna advised the board, “the time is now to propose a series of projects that can create a sustainable system — one that addresses customer quality issues, provides flexibility for future growth, one that gives those who want to water in the summer the ability to do so, and one that continues to capitalize on all the prior investment in existing LCWD infrastructure.”
Alternatives the District and its consultants evaluated before identifying the connection with the MWRA via Wakefield included:
- Simply maintaining existing assets
- Cost: $1-2 million
- Constructing a new water treatment plant at Glen Drive
- Cost: $7-8 million
- Constructing a new water treatment plant at Glen Drive and upgrading existing infrastructure on Phillips Road
- Cost: $8-9 million
- Retiring the Glen Drive well and drawing 50% of its water from the MWRA via the Lynnfield Water District
- Cost: $11-13 million
- Retire all LCWD resources and connect to the MWRA via the Lynnfield Water District
- Cost: $11-13 million
- Retire all LCWD resources and connect directly to the MWRA
- Cost: $18-20 million
Since its inception in 1939, the LCWD has drawn upon wellfields to pump, treat and distribute water to its nearly 2,600 customers. Most of the water is pumped from the North Coastal Watershed (Saugus River), while other water comes from wells at Glen Drive and Main Street near Lowell Street within the Ipswich River Watershed. LCWD initiated the study into future alternative sources last December.
The District currently imposes outdoor watering restrictions at various levels throughout the summer in order to conserve water and match demand with what it can supply. It most recently faced several challenges in the early part of this summer as demand from higher than average daily use and a period of extensive dry weather created a situation in which demand far exceeded supply. The circumstances ultimately resulted in the District requesting an emergency order from the DEP in order to supplement it’s system with other sources. Creating supplemental water supply sources could help curb this initiative, help the District address lingering discoloration complaints in areas of the system most reliant on well water from the Ipswich River Watershed and also set up a system that the District can firmly depend on for years to come.