The MWRA Board of Directors this week took another important step toward enhancing the quality of metropolitan Boston's drinking water. The Board awarded a contract to Barletta Heavy Construction, Inc. to construct the first portion of the Walnut Hill Water treatment plant in Marlborough.
"By voting to begin the construction of the new treatment plant, the Board of Directors is once again demonstrating its commitment to ensuring MWRA customers continue to receive water that is abundant, reliable and pure," said MWRA Executive Director Douglas B. MacDonald.
The new plant will treat water from the Wachusett Reservoir prior to being distributed to 40 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts. New treatment processes at the plant, which will include modern ozone disinfection and corrosion control, will improve drinking water quality and drastically reduce the amount of chlorine used in the system.
The plant is just one part of MWRA's 10 year, $1.7 billion Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program. The program includes constructing the new plant; building the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel, a deep rock water tunnel that will stretch 17.6 miles from Marlborough to Weston; five new covered water storage tanks that will replace existing open reservoirs to protect the treated water; increased watershed protection measures around MWRA's two source reservoirs, the Quabbin and Wachusett; and a program to rehabilitate the large pipelines that deliver water to MWRA communities.
"MWRA has already achieved unprecedented progress and has established a strong, continuing program that will assure drinking water quality and reliability now and in the future," MacDonald said.
The contract approved by the Board is the first of a series of construction packages for the new plant, which is being designed by Camp, Dresser & McKee Inc. of Cambridge. The contract includes clearing and earth excavation, a 50 million gallon reinforced concrete water storage tank, large diameter piping, access roads, and a bridge over the Wachusett Aqueduct forebay channel. Barletta Heavy Construction, Inc. was awarded the contract as low bidder with a bid price of $62,344,400, 8.4 percent lower than the engineer's estimate. The contract is scheduled for completion in late 2002. The Boston based company is currently working on three other MWRA projects: the Boston Harbor Project Final Site Completion Contract; the construction of 20-million gallon water storage tank at the Fells Reservoir in Stoneham; and a joint venture partnership with Daniel O'Connel's Sons, Inc. for the construction of two water storage tanks at Loring Road in Weston, which will hold 8 and 12 million gallons respectively.
"We are looking forward to continuing the working relationship we have established with Barletta on yet another major capital improvement project," said Michael J. McBride P.E., MWRA Deputy Director for Capital Construction. "To date their projects have proceeded on schedule and with good quality."