BURLINGTON - A bond issue for $3.5 million that will help fund phases 1 and 2 of the town’s journey to connect to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water connection was decisively passed by Town Meeting.

The purpose of the funds is two-pronged, as it will fund phase 1 of the MWRA water connection and phase 2 of the water connection design.

In May 2018, Town Meeting voted to join the MWRA water supply system and authorized the town to proceed with the permitting and construction of phase 1, which entails the construction of a new water main under Adams Street to restore the 1 million gallons per day deficit created by the shutting down of three wells at the Vine Brook Treatment Plant, due to 1,4 dioxane contamination. This short-term plan keeps both treatment plants operational.

Phase 2 includes the construction of a new water main from Burlington to Arlington. This long-term plan maintains the Mill Pond Treatment Plant operational while terminating production at the Vine Brook Treatment Plant.

Funding both phases will be through a 10-year plan of annual water rate increases, which started in 2018.

At this point, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office (MEPA) certificate was finally issued and the town is working with the Water Resources Commission process to gain approval to join the MWRA. Completion of phase 1 construction is expected before the end of 2020.

“We are requesting partial phase 2 funding for the design of phase 2 and the construction of a chemical feed station at Adams Street,” detailed Burlington Department of Public Works Director John Sanchez. “A total of $3.5 million from the originally phase 2 estimate of $16.9 million is requested through this article.”

The need for a chemical feed station is based on the end-result of the design of phase 1, the MEPA permitting process and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requiring the construction of such a station for corrosion control. The DEP is requiring the addition of the same corrosion control additive which they use at the Mill Pond and Vine Brook Treatment Plants for water compatibility. The building will have provisions for the addition of chlorine if that is needed or required in the future.

Sanchez discussed the timeline details for phase 2 construction.

“Once the design of phase 2 is complete, we are expecting to bring an article forward at the 2021 May Town Meeting to authorize the funding for phase 2 construction,” he specified. “The cost is estimated to be $13.4 million.”

That is still one year away, but Town Meeting eagerly awaits those construction plans.

Town Meeting decisively passed the $3.5 million bond issue by a 2/3 majority.

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