LYNNFIELD – Superintendent John Scenna reports that the Lynnfield Center Water District (LCWD) has been working over recent months to identify and evaluate options for supplementing the district’s water supply.
Through the study process, LCWD will evaluate three core options, as well as a likely fourth option consisting of a combination of those choices. Each option is being evaluated and studied, as will the extent to which LCWD would need to supplement its existing water supply and sources in the future.
Today, the LCWD draws upon existing wellfields to pump, treat and distribute water to its nearly 2,600 customers. Most of the water is pumped from the North Coastal Water Shed (Saugus River), while other water comes from wells at Glen Drive and Main Street near Lowell Street within the Ipswich River Watershed. The Ipswich River Watershed Association has communicated its desire to have the LCWD find alternative sources – especially during the summer months.
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. 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.
One option under consideration would be to build a direct pipeline to connect to and draw water from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), which serves 61 communities and industrial users in metro Boston, via transmission mains in either Wakefield or Saugus. A second option being evaluated is potentially sourcing water from the MWRA via the Lynnfield Water District through existing infrastructure within Lynnfield’s borders. The third core option would be an investment by the LCWD in building additional wellfields and pumps within the less restricted Saugus River Watershed, while also constructing and improving filtration systems in the Ipswich River Watershed infrastructure.
In addition, LCWD will determine whether those supplemental methods – or combinations of methods – would best serve the district solely during the summer, when demand and usage are highest, or year-round.
It will also evaluate whether it would be prudent to abandon portions of its existing infrastructure and partner with either the Lynnfield Water District or MWRA permanently.
“While the best course of action for the District and our customers remains to be seen, what we know for sure is that staying the course is not prudent in the long-term,” Superintendent Scenna said. “We’re working closely with our neighboring agencies to understand what’s most feasible, cost-effective and beneficial to all stakeholders as we evaluate the future needs of the District.”
“Ultimately,” Scenna added, “the core issue at hand is ensuring that we have the infrastructure in place to move forward and meet customer demand for the long term.”
Over the course of the coming months, LCWD leaders will work closely with consultant CDM Smith while communicating with representatives from the Lynnfield Water District, MWRA and the Saugus River Watershed Council to develop an understanding of the most practical options. Part of that process will include examining system pressure and hydraulics to determine potential impacts, then exploring the potential effect on water quality as a result of mixing sources.
LCWD plans to work on these options throughout the winter with the intention of updating District customers at its annual meeting in early April.
“The District, through an article presented by its members last year, has committed substantial resources towards studying and identifying options to solving this challenge in an efficient and timely manner,” said LCWD Board of Commissioners Chairman Joseph Maney.
LCWD will engage with its customers throughout this process and continue to provide information as it becomes available. Ultimately, funding to move forward with any proposal will require a vote of the District – likely in the fall of 2021.
In the meantime, customers are encouraged to reach out to LCWD with any questions or concerns. Updates are posted on their website, www.LCWD.us.