By Christopher Roberson
On Dec. 10, customers of the Lynnfield Center Water District (LCWD) will be asked to vote on the construction of a greensand filtration facility at the Glen Drive Pumping Station.
Should it be approved, the filter could be operational by 2020. In the meantime, the LCWD Board of Water Commissioners and representatives from engineering firm CDM Smith have continued to review their prior presentations and field questions from customers.
During the Oct. 22 meeting, Angela Moulton, an environmental engineer at CDM Smith, said a greensand filter would remove the manganese from the water, which has been causing the discoloration. “You’ll have the same quantity, but you’ll have better quality,” said Moulton.
LCWD Board Chairwoman Constance Leccese said the cost of the greensand filter currently ranges between “$4.5 million and $6 million.”
One resident asked if it is possible to turn off the Glen Drive Pumping Station. Moulton said that is not an option as 40 percent of the district’s water comes from that location. “We can’t just turn off Glen Drive,” she said, adding that the district’s four wells have their own separate aquifers.
There was also some discussion about tying into the network of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). Moulton said this would prove beneficial, particularly during the summer months when there is an elevated demand for water. However, she also said the MWRA has a tie-in fee. “Essentially, you pay to play,” she said.
LCWD Superintendent Kenneth Burnham said that without the water ban, the district would use 1.3 million gallons per day during the summer, adding that communities without bans have had trouble keeping up with the demand. “North Reading has had a big problem since last year,” he said.
Moulton said the LCWD draws its water from the North Coastal River Basin and the Ipswich River Basin.
Although she referred to the Ipswich River Basin as a “stressed basin,” Moulton said LCWD customers should not be concerned about running out of water even if more residents move into the district. “The district is built out; the population increases by single digits at best,” she said.
Burnham said there are a series of swinging valves that would be used in an emergency to draw water from Wakefield, North Reading and South Lynnfield. “You will never run out of water,” he said.
However, one resident said a more comprehensive approach is needed. “We’re taking a fragmented approach to solving a very large problem,” he said, adding that the condition of the water mains should also be addressed. “I don’t want to pay $6 million now and $6 million four years from now.”
He also said the LCWD should be able to solve its water conservation issues without having to resort to a water ban. “Your job as a district is to supply your constituents with water,” he said.
Resident Lisa Lopez of West Tapley Road spoke about the lack of effort to publicize the board’s meetings. “There’s no published agenda; we didn’t know to come back,” she said.
Leccese said each meeting is posted on the LCWD website and two Facebook pages. “That’s not true, but OK,” said Lopez.
Leccese said that going forward, the agendas will also be posted in advance.