Hopkinton asked to pay for all costs and provide $1mm for unspecified improvements
In his briefing to the Select Board last night, Town Manager Norman Khumalo reported that residents of the Town of Southborough will be voting at their Town Meeting to decide if Hopkinton can connect to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) through their town. He pointedly stated that there is “no benefit” to Southborough to allow the connection.
This connection is necessitated by the higher than safe levels of PFAs in Hopkinton’s municipal water supply.
Khumalo and DPW have been in active discussions about the project with their counterparts in Southborough. To date, they have acted as a “good neighbor”, Khumalo said, but in a written proposal, they outlined several concerns and costs Hopkinton would need to shoulder for the interconnect to be completed. Southborough noted the “significant disruption” to their roads and residents.
In the Letter of Intent, Southborough outlined five stipulations.
- Hopkinton will pay all direct costs of the connection.
- Hopkinton must compensate Southborough residents for the disruption.
- Hopkinton must pay for all construction and construction-related costs.
- Southborough will ask Hopkinton to cover the long-term maintenance costs of the connection.
- Southborough asked Hopkinton to set aside $1mm for unspecified improvements to their water infrastructure.
Whether the project moves forward is uncertain at this point, because Southborough has indicated they want their residents to decide the matter at Town Meeting, which is scheduled for March 25.
“They are our only option,” Khumalo said.
DPW Director John Westerling indicated that his department is ready to move immediately, pending the outcome of the vote. “Once we have approval we will proceed with the design,” he said.
The proposed project will create a dual pipeline that begins near the MBTA station in Southborough and will continue to a new booster station near the intersection of Legacy Farms Road and Cedar Street. From there the pipes will split, with one continuing to C Street, and the other traveling up Legacy Farms Road to Wilson Street, where it will connect to Hopkinton’s existing infrastructure. Both pipes will be buried 5 feet below grade. If all necessary approvals were in hand, the project is estimated to take two years to complete.
Additional money will be allocated to Southborough to improve the flow of their water supply.
Separately, Westerling stated that they had approached the Southborough Select Board for approval, but “were only recently made aware of how they intended to get the approval.”
What is certain is that access to clean water in Hopkinton is about to become a lot more expensive.