Officials celebrate $250,000 in state grants awarded to Wareham Water Department

Apr 23, 2018

Roughly $250,000 in state grants have been awarded to the Wareham Water Department to install solar panels and try new, automated water meter readers on a trial basis.

Department officials received $58,000 in Water Management Act grant funds recently. Superintendent Andrew Reid said the water department will add $42,000 to that amount to install 14 automated meter readers at mobile home parks in town.

The new meters will be fully automated, eliminating the need for water department staff to check them bi-annually. Reid said the new meters will be digital, allowing for ratepayers to manage their use better and catch leaks before receiving a costly bill. If successful, Reid said officials may try to implement the new meters for all ratepayers. Some of the funds will also be used to develop a water survey, which will be used to determine how much money users are willing to spend for water.

Reid credited State Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham) and State Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) for lending their support during the application process.

“I’m glad to be an advocate for the district, which I consider to be a constituent, for any opportunity,” said Gifford. “They protect one of our most important resources, clean drinking water. That’s a huge responsibility.”

Mary Wasylyk, Pacheco’s chief of staff, spoke on behalf of the senator.

“He’s thrilled the district is doing everything possible to provide clean, affordable drinking water,” said Wasylyk. “We need to do everything possible to protect this resource for future generations.”

The second grant, a $200,000 “gap grant” from the state, will be used to install solar panels at a new state-of-the-art water treatment facility to be built soon.

“This is a big one and important to the Water Departments efforts to cut carbon emissions, and address increased electricity to be used at the water purification plant,” said Reid.

Awarded through the Gap Funding Grant Program, the grant will speed along implementation of energy efficiency and clean energy generation projects at municipal treatment facilities. The program is designed to fill the last “gap” in project financing, enabling facilities to use utility incentives and funds from other sources to build or install clean energy projects.

Reid said the solar panels won’t generate all of the electricity the plant requires, but will significantly offset the cost. An estimate isn’t available yet.