Officials break ground on $12.5 million water treatment plant in Wareham
Officials broke ground on a new $12.5 water treatment plant Wednesday, July 25, eight years after plans were initially approved by voters at the Wareham Fire District Annual Meeting.
"It's been a long road," said Wareham Water Department Superintendent Andrew Reid. "With this, we're one step closer to better water quality."
Construction on the plant at Maple Springs Road is now anticipated to begin almost immediately.
Originally, the Maple Springs Water Purification Plant had an estimated cost of $3.5 million and construction was slated to be finished in 2016. In 2010, Wareham Fire District voters approved spending $2.9 million to treat water naturally contaminated with manganese pumped from Maple Park Well No. 9.
After some study, water officials decided to expand the plant to treat water from additional district wells when iron and manganese levels in Wells No. 3 and 4 rose unexpectedly. Also, Well No. 2 was found to have a deficiency which allowed surface water into the well.
In 2014, district voters approved borrowing $1.8 million for the larger plans. The remaining funds would come from the Fire District’s budget.
With construction costs creeping up and the need for several important additions, the new plant had a price tag between $9.9 million and $18.9 million.
Funding was finally approved by voters back in April 2017 for $12.5 million to address high amounts of iron and manganese found in the town’s drinking water, the latter of which has been known to cause health issues.
Wareham currently has two water treatment plants on opposite ends of town which help to control corrosion by adding lime and chlorine to the water. The new treatment plant will act as a filter, helping to further remove harmful materials from the water while reducing the use of chemicals.
Ultimately a $12,243,213 construction bid from Methuen Construction Company was selected by the Water Department Prudential Committee back in June.
The project will likely take 18 months to complete according to Methuen Construction Project Superintendent Ryan Bregman.
"We're excited to get underway," Bregman said. "We're going to do everything we can to bring this project in safely, on time and under budget."
State Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham) applauded the project, stating that clean water is a key part of town's future.
"It's truly a huge project," Gifford said. "Water is our most important resource, and this plant means a lot for the residents of Wareham."
Prudential Committee member Ron Enos was also in agreement.
"This plant will bring us back to having some of the best water in the state," Enos said.
The Wareham Fire District, which provides fire and water service, is governed independently from the town. The Onset Fire District, a separate entity, provides those same services for Onset residents and is also independent from town government.