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South Acton Treatment Plant

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 June 22nd, 2015


Alarm Interlock testing today

In order for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to certify our new water treatment plant they have to see that all safety interlocks and alarms are in place and working to protect the public health.  Today DEP will be simulating an alarm condition, which will cause the plant to immediately shutdown.  This type of shutdown is expected to cause a flow reversal in the system and subsequently discolored water may be experienced by customers.  We will update this webpage when more information becomes available.


May 7th, 2015 

New Water Treatment Plant to begin pumping filtered water

Beginning on Friday, May 8th, and over the course of the next week, we will begin the process of turning the South Acton Water Treatment Plant on to the piping distribution system.  The current point of entry of water to the system is existing, on High Street near Adams Street.  This changeover may cause some hydraulic disruptions, and subsequent water discoloration issues in any part of the system.  Because the system is a 135-mile interconnected piping web, and that source is such a large percentage of our supply, disruptions may occur anywhere.  We do have multiple sources in various areas of the town, and as the temperatures warm into the 80’s and 90’s, the demand for water rises significantly due to outdoor watering.  We must pump to near full capacity in the summer months just to keep up.  The commissioning of this facility prior to that occurring is critical, given that we have dedicated five groundwater sources (about 40% of the total capacity) to the water supply for it.  We apologize for the inconvenience, and appreciate your patience as we make this extremely important improvement to our water supply system.  This plant will filter minerals from the groundwater that have greatly contributed to chronic discoloration issues for decades.  Over the course of time, and as we remove the historical buildup of mineral sediment by periodic flushing of the pipes, the water quality will improve significantly, and events of discoloration will be of much less frequent occurrence and of shorter duration.


On a related topic, over the course of the next 2-3 weeks, Lazaro Paving of Acton will be milling and re-surfacing the roadways on School Street, Parker Street, High Street and Assabet Crossing.  These roads were disturbed last year during the installation of infrastructure to support the new filtration plant.  Please be observant of changing traffic patterns, and mindful of personnel and equipment in the public right of way.




Thank you


Chris Allen


District Manager


April 27th, 2015


South Acton Water Treatment Plant is certified


As of April 22nd, we’ve received partial certification for the new South Acton Water Treatment Plant to begin pumping filtered water from the three School Street wells to the piping distribution system.  The two Assabet wells will be tied into the supply to the plant in the coming month.  This is the culmination of a construction process that began with the ground-breaking back in October of 2013.  This $13.5-million project is unprecedented in Water District history, and will solve chronic discoloration issues that have existed for decades.  This membrane filtration plant will remove oxides of iron & manganese that, historically, have built up in the piping system.  With time, and consistent flushing of the water pipes to remove the existing sediment, the quality of the water supplied from the five south Acton sources will improve markedly.  We appreciate the patience and understanding of all residents during the disruptive construction period.  A public open house to showcase the new plant will be forthcoming in the near future.  Please check back here, at our website, for details.

February 24th, 2015

The South Acton Water Treatment Plant project nears completion

The South Acton Water Treatment Plant (SAWTP) is approximately 85% complete.  The contractor, Waterline Industries from Seabrook, NH, is working diligently amidst all of the recent severe winter weather to complete the project on time.  We recently formalized the 90-day extension granted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) extending the commissioning deadline to April 15, 2015.  We are hopeful to complete start-up and commissioning prior to that date.  The building is enclosed, heated and weather-tight, and work inside the facility on process piping, filtration equipment and chemical storage & handling equipment is ongoing.  The site piping exterior to the facility is complete.  The retrofit of electrical and mechanical equipment in our existing pump stations is ongoing, and close to completion.  The installation of the 2.5-mile transmission line from the School Street sources is almost complete; leak tightness and bacterial testing of about 50% of the pipe are pending.  The installation of a70-foot long by 42-inch diameter casing under the Parker Street MBTA rail was completed in early January, fortunately, prior to the recent extreme snowfall.  Inside this casing are two carrier pipes, one to complete the raw water transmission line, and the other for future infrastructure improvements on Parker Street.  This plant will filter approximately 40% of our source of supply, and is designed, primarily, to remove the discoloring mineral constituents, iron & manganese, out of the water prior to entry into the distribution system piping network.  With time, and consistent flushing of the pipes to remove historical mineral sediment, events of discoloration will be severely reduced.  It is important to note that this positive change will take time, as the system has been operating for decades pumping unfiltered water into the pipes.

To reiterate what has been stated multiple times in the recent past, due to the $13.5-million price tag for the plant, the “Bond Debt Fee” on the quarterly water bill will rise from $21.75/quarter to $46/quarter.  District staff, The Board of Water Commissioners and the District’s Finance Committee have been working painstakingly on rate strategies and financial plans to ensure that the debt associated with the 20-year loan is met, and revenues are adequate for future sustainability of the District.

September 5, 2014


The South Acton Water Treatment Plant is approximately 75% complete

CONTRACT #1:  The soon to be commissioned new water filtration plant in South Acton off High Street is approximately 75% complete.  The contractor, Waterline Industries from Seabrook, NH, has been working feverishly to get the plant construction back on schedule.  Delays incurred over the winter months from severe winter weather have carried forward into present time.  Currently, we have a proposal from Waterline for a 3-month extension that would delay the commissioning of the facility to the late winter/early spring of 2015.  The District was issued an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) back in 2010 for the Christofferson Well, which is one of five the sources of supply to the new treatment plant.  We are currently working closely with the contractor to develop strategies in scheduling to keep the project on-schedule, and meet, as close as possible, the original commissioning date of January 15, 2015, the current deadline by the ACO.


The building is fully erected, and the exterior masonry has been completed.  Windows & doors are currently being installed, along with the interlocking seam metal roof, which is about 90% installed.  After these are completed, the building will be completely enclosed, and interior piping and process equipment installation and connection can begin.  Most of the larger components that required hoisting via crane into the facility were put into place prior the roof truss system being installed, and, subsequently, the roof being installed.  This plant is proposed to be the first industrial connection to the town’s Sewer District, and residuals and sanitary sewer discharges, by design, will be sent to the wastewater treatment plant on Adams Street, just off High Street in close proximity to the treatment plant site.


CONTRACT #2: The other portion of the contract, Contract #2, with JP Cardillo from Wakefield, MA, is for over 2.5-miles of pipe installation to support both raw water transmission to the treatment plant from the three School Street sources, the Lawsbrook, Scribner & Christofferson Wells; and, the installation of over 6,000-Linear feet of new 12” water main pipe on High Street to accommodate the elevated flow rates from the new facility onto High Street, as treatment will be for all five South Acton sources, about 40% of our supply capacity, in one common filtration plant.  The pipe on High Street is completely installed and connected at both ends, Main Street/Route 27 and in the vicinity of Valley Drive on High Street, where the previous pipe was only 8” in that span.  The contractor is in the process of swapping interconnecting streets, and residential services over to the new 12” pipe.  We anticipate that this will be completed in the next two weeks.  Then, JP Cardillo will pave the trench the was excavated to install the pipe.  After about a year to allow the trench to settle, the entire roadway of those roads impacted will be milled and overlaid with new pavement curb-to-curb.  The raw water transmission pipe from The School Street well site, near the soccer fields off Route 2, is about 95% complete.  The missing link in this line is the sleeving of a carrier pipe under the MBTA rail on Parker Street.  This is contingent on the acquisition of licensing by MBTA, and that process is ongoing.  We do not anticipate any issues with its expeditious completion.  One aspect of this pipe under the rail is the installation of a 12” water main pipe for future distribution system improvements to remove the need to acquire separate licensing in the future when the pipe on Parker Street is replaced.


We firmly understand the inconveniences encountered by the citizens of Acton, and beyond.  We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this extremely important landmark project to improve the quality of our water, and, hence, the quality of life in Acton.  Longstanding issues with mineral discoloration have plagued water takers for many years.  We look forward, with great anticipation, to the commissioning of our new facility, and removal of the minerals by filtration prior to entry into our water distribution system.  With time, and consistent flushing of the water mains to remove that mineral sediment that has already built up over time, discoloration events should all but subside completely.


Thank you

Chris Allen, District Manager


July 22nd, 2014


The contractor, Waterline Industries of Seabrook, NH, is approximately 65% complete on the construction and upgrade of facilities necessary for the new Pall Microfiltration water treatment plant being built off High Street in South Acton.  Construction began back in October of 2013.  Some delays were encountered over the winter months due to severe winter weather, but construction continued right through those months.  While minimally behind schedule, Waterline still anticipates an on-time commissioning of the facility.  The currently mandated commissioning date is January 15, 2015.  This is required by an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) issued to the District by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) when the Christofferson Well was re-designated as Groundwater Under the Direct Influence (GWUDI) of surface water.  Historically, the District does not utilized this source due to poor water quality, and historical microbial impacts.  Given the new designation, we must now treat Christofferson as a surface water source to the standards of the Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR).  The Commissioners made a conscious decision to undertake an effort to filter all of South Acton’s sources (Five groundwater wells total, accounting for approximately 40% of our supply capacity).  After about five years of permitting, piloting, design and, finally, construction, we look forward with great anticipation to the commissioning of this facility this winter.  I’m certain that the majority of South Acton’s residents will enthusiastically echo these sentiments, having endured chronic discoloration due to the impacts of mineral constituents, primarily iron & manganese, for decades.  In time, with consistent flushing of the pipes, the discoloration events that have plagued South Acton, and other parts of the system, will lessen, and all but subside.  This overall project is unprecedented in District history.  Since it  carries a price-tag of $13.5-million (Inclusive of the physical plant, water main/infrastructure work & engineering), customers can expect to see an incremental increase in the “Bond Debt Fee” currently affixed to the quarterly water bills.  Since this project is being funded completely from the State Revolving Fund through the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust at a fixed interest rate of 2% on a 20-year note, the ratepayers of the District will save approximately $2-million dollars over the life of the debt.


December 4th, 2013

New treatment plant in South Acton has a foundation

Now that the new South Acton Water Treatment Plant has been permitted, designed and bid, it is time to get to work!  The site work has begun and the land to accommodate the new building is being cleared off High St behind Powdermill Plaza.  One of the larger and more impactful portions of the project is the installation of over 2 miles of transmission pipes to direct water for filtration from the School Street well site to the new treatment plant at the Assabet well site.  This, of course, means burying a pipe in the Public Right of Way on School Street and Parker Street through Assabet Crossing and then cross-country into the new treatment plant site.

November 6, 2013

Contractor mobilizing for installation of pipes to support new treatment plant in South Acton

The new South Acton Water Treatment Plant has been permitted, designed and bid.  The site work has begun and the land to accommodate the new building is being cleared off High St behind Powdermill Plaza.