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Plans For Manganese Treatment Plant At Whitney Well Advance

by Connie Sartini
Groton Water Department Superintendent Tom Orcutt updated the Select Board on the plans for the Treatment Plant for Manganese at their Nov. 2 meeting. Orcutt advised that the next major milestone for the project will be next September 2021 when the final design plans are submitted to the DEP.
     In order to move forward, the Groton Water Department issued an RFP for an OPM (Owners Project Manager), and has received more than 29 responses. Orcutt said that following a review by the Board of Water Commissioner, a recommendation will be made to Town Manager Mark Haddad after a successful negotiation on the scope and fee.
     Orcutt advised that Water Commissioners would be requesting funding at the 2021 Spring Town Meeting for design services, and following a hoped for favorable vote, “we will need the design for submission in September.” With an aggressive schedule there will be a request at the Fall Town Meeting to issue a bond for construction of the plant.
     Two key dates:
• Pilot Study Concept Plan to DEP-CERO – December 31, 2020
• Final Design submitted to the DEP-CERO by September 30, 2021
     There were two areas that were potential sites for the Manganese Water Treatment Facility - at Baddacook or Whitney Well.
According to Orcutt the Board met twice a month and developed a decision matrix that was instrumental in their decision to build the facility at the Whitney Well site. He added that using the matrix helped the Commissioners make the final determination on where to build the treatment facility, adding, “Whitney well ranked higher than Baddacook.”
     Orcutt explained, “A big part of this was the financing and we looked at the construction costs. (In the end,) Whitney Pond was cheaper to do than to pipe the water down Route 40 from Whitney Well to the Baddacook site.” He added, “These need to be two separate facilities. We can’t mix Baddacook and Whitney water together.” He added that they worked through the costs, the redundancy, the resiliency, and Whitney Pond was the best location. He stressed that there was room for expansion there and there would be a $500,000 in savings by building the facility at Whitney.
     Orcutt explained the funding needs. The first request at Spring 2021 Town Meeting is only for the engineering design. The Fall 2021 Town Meeting will be asked to vote on funds to start construction.
Select Board member John Giger asked if they were planning testing for all six types of PFAS and Orcutt said they were doing this. Selectman Josh Degen asked if they could get the costs associated with the PFAS remediation.
     Water Commissioner Jim Gmeiner said that the Water Department currently had the charge in place for doing the construction and did not
anticipate raising fees or rates for this project. He stressed that the article for Town Meeting was just for authorization to borrow these funds.
     Orcutt pointed out that there would ne a need for an additional operator before the facility went online, but that this action will be discussed at a later meeting.
     Select Board Chairman Alison Manugian thanked the Commissioners for all their hard work on the Project.
Selectman Josh Degen said that Supt. Orcutt had done excellent outreach and thanked all the Water Commissioners for the information they have been providing.
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