By Bronwen Howells Walsh firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Aug 7, 2019 at 9:03 AM
Updated Aug 9, 2019 at 10:45 AM
$12 million water plant build gets underway in Hyannis
The Hyannis Water System and officials from Mass DEP held a both a ceremonial and a literal groundbreaking Wednesday for construction of a new $12 million water filtration building at the Maher Water Treatment Plant.
The upgrade to the water system will enable Hyannis to meet stricter federal and state regulations for the emerging contaminants like PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane.
Gary Moran, deputy commissioner of operations at Mass DEP, called the new water treatment facility an important milestone in Barnstable’s proactive efforts to address emerging contaminants.
“That’s not the approach that everyone is taking,” Moran said during a morning press conference onsite at the Maher Wellfield off Old Yarmouth Road. “Communities are trying to keep up with new (EPA) guidelines. We really do commend the town in stepping up. Not only is Barnstable ahead of the curve, they have a seasonal population explosion that’s unique” in its demands on the water system.
The Hyannis Water Board, established to provide citizen input and oversight for the DPW Water Supply Division, recommended building the new water filtration building near the existing Maher treatment plant at 47 Old Yarmouth Road.
“Our water system is over 100 years old and has serious capital needs we have been diligently addressing,” said Stephen O’Neil, Hyannis Water Board chairman. “The construction of this state-of-the-art filtration plant will be a pro-active investment in the future of the Hyannis Water System.”
Dan Santos, Barnstable director of Public Works, said once operational in the fall of 2021, the new plant will allow the Hyannis Water system “to continue to provide adequate supplies of drinking water to businesses, residents, and tourist that meets all federal and state standards.”
The new facility will have a design capacity of 1,500 gallons per minute. The plant will remove PFAS with activated carbon filtration; 1,4-Dioxane by advanced oxidation with peroxide and ultraviolet light (UV); and iron and manganese by greensand filtration.
Construction actually got underway during the press conference, as heavy machinery dug into the turf behind the speakers’ podium. “We’re providing contract incentive money to have it completed early,” said Hans Keijser, superintendent of the DPW Water Supply Division.
Contractors for the project include Tata & Howard, an environmental engineering leader in the Northeast. Waterline Industries Corporation of Seabrook, NH will construct the filtration building.
Financing for the water filtration project is provided by borrowing from the Mass DEP State Revolving Fund, “with principal forgiveness resulting in a lower interest rate to minimize financial impacts to the rate payers,” Santos said.
The Hyannis Water System consists of four water treatment facilities, four storage tanks, 12 well pumping stations, and a 107-mile distribution system. The system provides drinking water services to about 18,000 residents through 7,249 metered service connections to residential and commercial properties. Supplying its drinking water from ground sources, the Hyannis Water System draws about 2.77 million gallons per day from wells with an annual production of 902 million gallons.
The upgrade to the water system was recommended in a 2016 final conceptual design report and confirmed in a 2017 pilot test report, and approved by the Barnstable Town Council in March 2017.
The $6.5 million carbon filtration plant already operating at the Maher wellfield treats about 30 percent of the Hyannis water system’s total production capacity, according to Rob Steen, assistant director of Barnstable DPW.
The latest upgrade to the water system was recommended in the 2016 final conceptual design report, confirmed in the 2017 pilot test report, and approved by the Barnstable Town Council in March 2017.
To date, the town has spent about $20 million on cleaning up Barnstable’s groundwater, Santos said.
“To quote our town manager, ‘There’s nothing more important than drinking water.’ We’re all part of the process” of keeping Barnstable’s groundwater clean, Santos said.
Council President Jim Crocker said water is a commodity that we’ve all become all-to-used to.
“Can you imagine if we sent people to Cape Cod Hospital and handed them bottled water because the drinking water wasn’t safe?” Crocker posited.
Also attending the groundbreaking was Cheryl Osimo, executive director of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and co-founder of its sister organization, the Cape & Islands Silent Spring Institute.
“We really could not do our research without the support of Dan Santos, Hans Keijser, and Mark Ells,” Osimo said. “They will be recognized worldwide” for their efforts to safeguard the community’s drinking water supply.