Commission approves water ban

WESTFIELD – The Water Commission Authorized a $3.6 million bond to repair the Granville Reservoir spillway and dam last night and authorized an outdoor water use ban when the reservoir, which provides half of the city’s drinking water, is taken off line for the repair project.
The commission recently approved another contract to reconstruct the pipeline carrying water from the reservoir to the city’s treatment plant in Southwick so that both projects could be done simultaneously while the reservoir is out of service.
The reservoir repair bond will be sent Mayor Daniel M. Knapik and he will submit it to the City Council that has to approve the appropriation.
A section of the spillway was collapsed during tropical storm Irene, causing the torrent of water to washout the side of a hill and gouge a new channel. The repair project, designed by the engineering firm of Tighe & Bond, includes restoration of the soil and construction of a box culvert spillway to prevent similar damage in the future.
Water Resource Superintendent Dave Billips said this morning that the city will receive an $800,000 reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), for the spillway repair.
The project also includes drainage repairs and reinforcement to the face of the earthen dam built in 1928.
“We can’t award the bid until the Council approves the bond, but we plan go out to bid the project any day now because they’re starting the raw water main replacement right now, work that the board awarded to R.H. White. The R.H. White bid was $400,000 below the engineering estimate for that work, so hopefully that will also be the case for the reservoir work.” Billips said. “We have to have both projects done while the reservoir is off line.”
The Water Commission also authorized the Water Resource Department to impose an outdoor water use ban while the reservoir is off line and the city’s entire water supply is drawn from the well system, a much more expensive source of water than the reservoir which is a gravity system. The wells rely on pumps that have significant energy consumption use.
The commission approved two bans, an odd-even ban which will allow residents to use water for outdoor uses, such as irrigation, recreation, and property or vehicle maintenance, three days a week. A total ban on Monday is needed to recharge the city’s storage tanks after the weekend water usage, which is typically higher than weekday usage.
The commission also authorized the department to impose a total outdoor water ban if circumstances, such as a dry spell or equipment failure, dictate the need to reduce water consumption.

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