Water and Sewer Division
In 1974 and 1976, Annual Town Meeting established separate Water and Sewer Funds to ensure that the operation, maintenance and capital improvement of the water and sewer systems would be financially viable enterprises. Expenses and expenditures incurred for each system are covered entirely by user fees. The Water and Sewer Division of Concord Public Works is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the water and sewer infrastructure and as of 2006, the total assets for each system are 17.8 million and 19.9 million dollars, respectively.
Concord's water system was established in 1872. Sandy Pond, located in Lincoln, was the original source of water supply. In 1909, Nagog Pond located on the border of Acton and Littleton was added to the system. In 1948, the Deaconess well was the first groundwater supply added to this system, followed by five groundwater wells over the next fifty years. Today, the water system is composed of six individual groundwater wells and Nagog Pond. The rights to use Sandy Pond were relinquished in 1971.
Water is currently pumped from each pumping/treatment station into a high pressure water main network of over 122 miles of pipe. Two covered storage reservoirs, one located at Annursnac Hill (constructed in 1909) and another located at Pine Hill in Lincoln (constructed in 1971) provide total reserve capacity of 7.5 million gallons. The Nashawtuc Hill reservoir, constructed in 1883 as part of the original water supply system, was removed from service in 1955 when the system was converted from a low pressure to a high pressure system. There are presently 5,430 customers receiving potable water service and fire protection from this supply. This represents approximately 95% of Concord residents and businesses, with a small section of Acton properties serviced along Route 2A.
Water Use and Demand Management
Based on historic water use habits, water use patterns typically correlate directly with seasonal weather trends. The total water production measured during 2006 was 713 million gallons with an average daily demand of 1.95 million gallons. The highest water use continues to occur in the summer from June to August, with an average daily demand of 2.4 million gallons. In comparison to this same period in 2005, water use was significantly down. This was also the case when compared to the 5 and 10 year averages. The peak daily usage registered in 2006 was 3.32 million gallons as recorded on August 3.
While we would like to claim that conservation practices are entirely responsible for such a trend, climate data taken from the National Weather Service in Boston indicated that over this same period, temperatures were generally lower than average, and rainfall was generally higher than average. Ultimately, the combination of increased attention to wise water use and weather conditions has resulted in some relief in outdoor water demands.
Water Conservation Program Highlights
Efforts to enhance indoor and outdoor water conservation awareness within the community continued to be a major focus in our outreach and communication strategy. Highlights included:
Concord continues to be in the forefront in the promotion and practice of water conservation in New England. These efforts include Concord representing the northeastern water suppliers on the Smart Water Application Technology Promotional Working Group and participation in a Technical Advisory Committee established by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to evaluate the effectiveness of several outdoor water conservation pilot programs funded by an epa grant.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (us epa) promulgated three new drinking water regulations. These rules have been open for public comment for a period of several years and will provide further protection of public health and safety by requiring increased monitoring and treatment to reduce risks for potential chemical or pathogenic exposure.
In the interest of further enhancing groundwater resource protection, the Ground Water Rule was promulgated. This rule impacts water suppliers that provide water from groundwater sources (such as Concord), requiring greater vigilance for the protection against potential contamination from disease-causing microorganisms. For many water systems, inadequate protection will likely trigger a disinfection requirement - a practice Concord already undertakes using liquid chlorine. Along with the need to provide treatment of groundwater, sampling of source water and sanitary surveys will also be required by the new rule. If deficiencies are identified, corrective actions will be implemented to ensure safe water is being delivered to customers.
Finally, the ma dep has moved ahead of us epa and established new drinking water standards for perchlorate, a commonly used blasting agent in the construction and fireworks industries. This is the most stringent standard established for this chemical in the country. Baseline monitoring showed that the chemical was not present in any of Concord's water sources. Ongoing monitoring for this chemical is required under the new State regulation.
All other routine and non-routine testing activities continue to be conducted in accordance with State and Federal requirements at both our sources of supply and within our distribution system. A summary of this information will continue to be made available on the Town website and sent directly to each customer in our Annual Water Quality Report.
New Treatment Facility designed to serve both Deaconess and White Pond Wells
Construction of a new drinking water treatment facility was initiated at the Deaconess well site located off Old Road to Nine Acre Corner. The project will result in the reduction of iron and manganese, naturally occurring constituents that are generally the cause of reported water discoloration, to levels well below drinking water guidelines. This successful completion of this initiative will represent the single greatest investment in water quality improvement made by the community in decades.
When complete, this structure will house water treatment process equipment for both the Deaconess well and White Pond well water, an emergency generator and a small water testing laboratory. As part of this project, a new water transmission main will be constructed, connecting the White Pond well site to the Deaconess well site. As reported previously, one of the major advantages identified in constructing a single joint treatment facility will be the elimination of a need to construct an entirely separate water treatment plant in the White Pond well property.
Pumping Station Rehabilitation and Upgrades
The replacement of a high lift vertical turbine pump at the Jennie Duggan well restored its yield of 500,000 gallons of high quality water per day. In addition, the White Pond well was cleaned and rehabilitated to restore its efficiency, producing as much as 800,000 gallons per day.
When system demands dropped off in the fall, the 2.5 million gallon storage reservoir located on Annursnac Hill was drained and inspected. While it had been completely rehabilitated and covered in 1974, the inspection revealed that the floor and walls of this concrete storage structure needed significant and immediate repair. The Water Division operations group performed all of the recommended rehabilitation that required immediate attention.
Water Main Rehabilitation and Extension Programs
In conjunction with the successful completion of the Phase 1 Sewer Project, the Division oversaw the replacement of approximately 1,609 linear feet of water main installed in the East Concord neighborhood. The majority of this work involved the replacement of 1,277 linear feet of main installed in the mid-1900s. The remainder of this work involved short sections of pipe which were removed and relayed to accommodate sewer construction.
In addition to the water funded rehabilitation efforts noted above, two privately-funded water main extension projects were also approved by the Public Works Commission. These two projects added approximately 2,300 feet of new main to the Town's water distribution network along Bolton Street and Cambridge Turnpike (from the intersection of Sandy Pond Road to Route 2).
Concord's sewer system was established in 1900 and consisted of a small centralized gravity collection system which carried wastewater from Concord center to a collection chamber located at 141 Keyes Road. A pump station then lifted the sewage via a force main to a cluster of filter beds located approximately 1 mile away on fields located adjacent to Great Meadows. Over the years, a series of treatment system improvements have occurred on this site including the installation of an Imhoff tank for solids collection prior to disposal to the leaching beds in 1954, which was subsequently replaced in 1987 with the 1.2 million gallon per day trickling filter facility and sand bed polishing system which still remains in operation.
Today, the service area has expanded to include two sewer pumping stations, six neighborhood sewer lift stations, and approximately 29 miles of sewer main. The collection system includes both gravity main and low pressure sewer main and provides service to 1,731 customers, approximately one-third of Town.
Pumping Station Rehabilitation and Upgrades
The Assabet Pumping Station located off of Main Street in West Concord and the Lowell Road Pumping Station located near the corner of Lowell Road and Keyes Road have been in continual operation since they were overhauled in the mid-1980's. Four smaller neighborhood lift stations have also been in continual operation since installed in the mid-1980's. These stations are located on Park Lane, Gifford Lane, Pilgrim Road, and Walden Street. In keeping with routine inspection and service activities, the operations crew continued to visit and inspect each of these important facilities daily.
Sewer Main Extension and Rehabilitation Programs
Phase 1 Sewer Project
In accordance with the Phase 1 sewer construction project funded via 2003 Town Meeting, the Division provided project oversight for the completion of the multi-year sewer installation activities performed in sections of the West Concord (Cousins Park area) and East Concord (Elm Brook) neighborhoods. Contractors performed construction and engineering and construction administration services.
The majority of sewer mains and associated service stubs located in East Concord were installed in the 2005 construction season. New pvc main was installed along Kenny Lane and a neighborhood lift station required to pump the wastewater from East Concord to the existing wastewater treatment plant were completed in 2006. pvc main was installed to connect new sewer mains on Bedford Street and Old Bedford Road to the newly installed pump station. By the fall, this station was fully operational and customers were allowed to tie into the municipal system. According to plan, the final site restoration and landscaping activities scheduled for the Cousins Park lift station in West Concord were also completed.
Road and sidewalk replacement activities performed in East Concord under a separate contract administered through the Engineering Division marked the end of this very important and large scale construction project. After years of study, design and construction, Concord Public Works is very pleased to have brought closure to the long anticipated and much desired extension of municipal sewers to these neighborhoods.
Miscellaneous Sewer Extension
The Public Works Commission voted to accept a privately funded extension request along Beharrell Street to accommodate an improved service configuration to an existing customer. In accordance with this approval, the Water and Sewer Division oversaw the installation of the 740 feet of 8-inch pvc sewer main.
Municipal wastewater treatment capacity constraints continued to draw attention and interest as the Town attempts to define its long-term housing and economic development needs and goals. The Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan, supported at Town Meeting 2003 and certified at the State Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, clearly identified specific wastewater treatment limitations. It has become increasingly apparent that the Town must develop a long-term wastewater management plan that supports subsequent planning interests and initiatives. Concord Public Works partnered with the Department of Planning and Land Management and crafted a Request for Proposals to hire a consulting team to help the Town better understand approaches and opportunities to integrate these planning efforts. As a result of this effort, a multi-year contract for the Integrated Planning Initiative has been awarded.
Infiltration and Inflow Inspection and Rehabilitation
Water and Sewer Division personnel and its contractor continued to investigate the sewer system for sources of unwanted groundwater and rainwater infiltration and inflow (i/i). Based on the inspection results, 5,344 linear feet of those sewers were pressure tested at their joints and grouted, as needed. Twenty-six sewer manholes identified by Town operations personnel as having potential i/i problems were inspected. As a result, eighteen manholes were cement-lined and five were jet cleaned.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations and Facilities Improvements
Woodard & Curran, Inc. continues to operate the Town's Wastewater Treatment Plant (wwtp), located off of Bedford Street, under the direct supervision of the Water and Sewer Division. The plant operates in compliance with the State and Federal issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (npdes) with a noted change in 2006, which resulted in more stringent phosphorus discharge standards. The present permit requires a phased phosphorus reduction program which must be implemented over a period of several years. To help meet these regulatory requirements, a major rehabilitation and system upgrade project was initiated.
The Town awarded a multi-year contract to perform the major rehabilitation and upgrade project. The rehabilitation project has been designed to include addition of a new headworks facility, replacement of grit removal equipment, upgrades to the septage receiving area, significant modifications to the sludge handling components, creation of a new building addition to house a pre-purchased tertiary treatment process (CoMag), installation of new ultraviolet disinfection equipment, improved chemical storage and feed systems, electric system upgrades, and integration of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (scada) system.
When construction is complete, this facility will house the first of its kind luminary treatment process. The noted treatment system involves a magnetically enhanced coagulation process (CoMag) that will allow for advanced phosphorus reduction to limits well below performance standards currently available through most other treatment technologies. Already, the process is gaining significant attention from communities within Massachusetts and as far away as China. While time will tell, we truly believe that Concord's early adoption of this technology will result in the direct advancement of wastewater treatment nationally and internationally.