Framingham Online News

$43 Million Birch Road Well Project Discussed on Local Cable TV

September 27, 2009 (4:53 pm EST)
by Deb Cleveland
Filed under: General Interest,Politics

FRAMINGHAM, MA -- If you'd like to hear an in-depth discussion about Framingham's $43M Birch Road Well Project to reduce the town's dependence on MWRA water by 50%, tune in to hear the experts discuss the overall project on public access t.v. on:

The Audrey Hall Show:

  • Monday 9/28/09, 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday 9/29/09, 9:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday 9/30/09 9:00 a.m.

The well site has been referred to as the "highest yielding" aquifer in eastern Massachusetts and after years of discussing the potential of the well the town started to seriously consider the project in 2003, with aquifer testing beginning in spring 2006.

In May, Town Meeting approved a $40.3 million water treatment facility project that would tap into the Birch Road Wells. The site is located in Saxonville adjacent to the PUD site (formerly NE Sand and Gravel) just off of Old Conn Path near the Wayland line. The aquifer tapped by the wells and treated by the facility could supply more than 4 million gallons daily, nearly half of the town's water supply. This has the potential to save the town tens of millions of dollars in years to come.

The town has to pay a fee to the MWRA annually and the rates keep escalating. In 2008 MWRA water cost Framingham $6.3 million. Projected 2014 costs for the town are estimated to be $9.3 million.

In 2013, the Birch Road Wells water could potentially cost about 40 percent less than MWRA water. In addition to the savings on MWRA water, Framingham can benefit from some federal stimulus funding, which could amount to 14 percent of the project's cost, or about $5.6 million.

There are some concerns, including magnesium levels and the impact of a plume of PCE from a spill decades ago during experiments on the property to develop a quick means of patching damaged air fields.

Wayland officials are concerned about the impact on their water supply. Richard Miller of the Cochituate State Park Advisory Committee has raised concerns about the impact to Lake Cochituate.

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