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MassDEP Commemorates National Drinking Water Week by Awarding Commendations to 39 Public Water Systems and Operators 

BOSTONIn honor of National Drinking Water Week, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) today announced that 39 public water systems across the Commonwealth have received awards of commendation for their noteworthy public service delivered during 2021. 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.

“Public water systems across the Commonwealth do a great job ensuring there is access to safe, healthy drinking water, but each year, there are some systems that stand out and deserve special recognition,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Today, the Baker-Polito Administration is honored to recognize these exceptional water systems and operators for their distinguished work protecting the health of their communities during this year’s National Drinking Water Week.”

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 2021. For more than 35 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 was held at the Devens Common Center in Devens. 

2022 Public Water System Award Recipients and Honorable Mentions  

Non-transient/Non-community Systems:

  • The New Testament Church – Plymouth 

Small Community Systems:

  • Benfield Farms – Carlisle
  • Bishops Landing Condominiums – Stoughton
  • Centre Village Apartments – Boxborough
  • Fields at Sherborn Condo Trust – Sherborn
  • Garrison Place – Carlisle
  • Pine Ridge Condominiums at Sampson’s Pond – Carver
  • Sea Oaks Condominiums – Mashpee
  • Siasconset Water Department – Nantucket

Medium and Large Community Systems:

  • Barnstable Fire District
  • Gardner Water Department
  • Harwich Water Department
  • Lynn Water and Sewer Commission
  • Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)
  • North Chelmsford Water District
  • North Sagamore Water District
  • Orleans Water Department
  • Seekonk Water District
  • Southbridge Water Department
  • Walpole Water Department 

Consecutive Systems:

  • Acushnet Water Department
  • Beverly Water Department
  • Brookline Water and Sewer Division
  • Lynnfield Water District (MWRA)
  • Newton Water Department (MWRA)
  • Quincy Water Department (MWRA)
  • Waltham Water Department
  • Whitman Water System

Water Conservation: The following systems met the compliance standards of 65 residential gallons per-capita per-day of water use, along with the 10 percent unaccounted-for water usage system-wide (leaks/flushing) for the most-recent applicable year, and implemented the minimum, mandatory water use restrictions in 2021. All have websites showing conservation-related information and while not required, all used less water than the previous year.

  • Acton Water Supply District
  • Douglas Water Department
  • Franklin Water Department

Central Region

Recognition Award:

  • Sturbridge Water Department

The Sturbridge Water Department contracts out its water supply operation to Veolia North America. The town and Veolia work together to treat the water and maintain distribution in a top-notch effort overseeing the operation’s wells, treatment plants, storage tanks, and booster stations, as well as water quality monitoring and compliance. The maintenance of the water distribution system is handled jointly by Veolia and the Sturbridge Public Works Department, where the town supplies equipment, Veolia supplies parts, and both provide labor.

Distinguished Operator Award:

  • Barry Smith – Town of Medway  

Barry Smith is the Medway Water and Sewer Superintendent. Barry has established procedures to ensure the system operates in compliance and in a very methodical way. Barry’s efforts reduced unaccounted-for-water from 25.9 percent to 5.6 percent. Barry is very proactive and has proceeded with replacement wells, treatment plants, and even oversees the design engineers’ plans to ensure operator safety is accounted for in the design and any future expansion if necessary. 

Northeast Region

Recognition Award:

  • Salisbury Water Department

Salisbury Water Department is a large groundwater system whose population balloons from just over 9,000 in the winter to 20,000 in the summer. Governor Baker authorized Salisbury to take control of the Ring’s Island Water District, improving capacity to Ring’s Island by upgrading the aging 1938 Bridge Road water main that feeds the Island and is taking over direct operation and maintenance of the system. Salisbury shows leadership by proactively communicating with MassDEP to ensure a smooth transition that maintains all regulatory requirements and continues to improve upon its system capacity and resiliency to meet its users’ needs now and well into the future.

Distinguished Operator Award:

  • Paul Colby – Town of Ipswich 

Paul Colby serves as the operator for multiple non-community public water systems in the Northeast Region and consistently maintains accurate and timely reporting requirements while also being exceptionally responsive to various PWS needs. Paul has managed the assessments required and repairs to a well, which had persistent total coliform issues. Paul has also been instrumental in response actions because of the new PFAS regulations, which can provide unique treatment challenges to small systems. In addition to ensuring compliance with required PFAS public education and notification, Paul ensures that the multiple PFAS-impacted PWSs under his guidance meet all additional deadlines. Paul’s attention to details and responsiveness to both PWSs and MassDEP makes him the ideal choice for a regional operator award.  

Southeast Region

Recognition Award:

  • Foxborough Water Department

The Foxborough system operators are hard-working and enthusiastic professionals who are dedicated to the current and future ability of the system to provide a safe, fit, and pure supply of drinking water to their customers. Their team has undertaken an impressive long-term effort to nearly re-build their sources and treatment infrastructure completely. 

Distinguished Operator Award:

  • Linda Correia – City of Fall River  

After many years as a Grade 4T operator for the City of Fall River and then the Inima-Aquaria desalination plant in Dighton, Linda “retired” in 2021 and is now operating approximately 40 small public water systems. The small systems benefit greatly from Linda’s professional experience running much larger surface water systems. Linda can be counted on for maintaining compliance with water quality reporting requirements and sage advice for operating water systems.

Western Region

Recognition Award:

This public water system sought compliance with drinking water requirements when undertaking an expansion. It now has a fully compliant source not needing treatment. This is a public health and safety improvement over prior conditions with a noncompliant source, which had bacteria issues requiring treatment.

Distinguished Operator Award:

  • Linda Tims – Town of Sheffield

Linda is an operator for several public water systems as a contract operator with RH White. She has conscientiously addressed problems when they occur, taking the required actions and communicating with MassDEP about the risks presented, the options the PWS has, and reporting on corrective actions taken. She is a professional with attention to public health and safety.

For more information on public drinking water systems in Massachusetts, please visit MassDEP’s drinking water webpage

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives, and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.

 

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