Archive 2008 - 2019

Rep. Dykema: Strategies to Improve State’s Aging Water Infrastructure

by Leah Robins

"Water is one of our most basic needs, yet we often take the infrastructure that delivers it to our homes and businesses for granted,” said Representative Carolyn Dykema. “I am grateful to the MWPCA for providing this opportunity to highlight the work of the Water Infrastructure Finance Commission with fellow legislators and the water quality professionals who are the front lines in addressing our water infrastructure.”

The Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association is a non-profit organization that represents operators, professionals and both privately and publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities throughout Massachusetts. The Association makes available education and training, and promotes the exchange of information among its members so they can be made more knowledgeable and effective in providing excellent water quality throughout Massachusetts.

"The consistent issue we heard today from our cities and towns in Massachusetts is their struggle to balance the need to comply with mandated federal compliance with wastewater and storm water discharges while also addressing  the need to repair or replace aging infrastructure while limiting the financial impacts to their residents,” said Ray Willis, MWPCA President.

Representative Dykema was joined at the event by Senator Jamie Eldridge, co-chair of the Water Infrastructure Finance Commission.

“Restoring our water infrastructure is a need that has gone unattended to for too long, largely because our water pipes are underground and not in plain sight,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge. “Water pipes don’t become a problem until they spring a leak underscoring the need to invest in the future of our water infrastructure to promote clean drinking water. I applaud the great efforts the Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association has taken to highlight the need for high quality, updated and reliable water infrastructure and look forward to working on this issue in the legislature.”

Massachusetts cities and towns are responsible for maintaining more than 125,000 miles of sewer pipes and more than 100 municipal wastewater treatment plants, many of which are aging. Cities and towns are tasked with maintaining thousands of drinking water wells and more than 200 surface water supplies.

The Water Infrastructure Finance Commission (WIFC) was charged with developing a comprehensive, long-range water infrastructure finance plan for the commonwealth and its municipalities following two years of research, public hearings and meetings. The final report is available online here.

During her remarks, Rep. Dykema highlighted the legislative package filed based on final recommendations of the WIFC including:

·         Creation of a 10-year Water Infrastructure Bond to fund local drinking water, wastewater and storm water improvements;

·         Defining and establishing guidelines for best management practices in long-term planning and financing;

·         Promoting innovative water technologies; and

·         Conducting a feasibility study relative to implementing watershed based permitting.

“By making investment in our water system a priority, we are also prioritizing economic growth, job creation, and the sustainability of our communities,” Rep. Dykema noted during her remarks.


State Representative Carolyn serves on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee and represents the towns of Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough and Westborough (pct. 2).


Comments (2)

This is not just a State issue (someone else's problem.) It is growing Holliston issue as well. For a decade or so after Holliston acquired the former Holliston Water Co., in 1945, miles upon miles of new water pipes were laid. All of those were made of asbestos-cement (A-C) that was common for a while. However, it has since been found that A-C pipe only has a useful life of about eighty years - then erosion takes it's toll and pipes begin to break. Holliston now has about 80 miles of A-C pipe under its streets. Presently the replacement cost is estimated to be $800,000 /mile. This issue was raised by the Water Department about four years ago. The questions were where to start and how to pay for it? Today Holliston only knows how and where to start.

Jeff Weise | 2013-03-26 06:17:30

Absolutely Rep. Dykema is right water related issues effects our economic developement, and sustainability. We as a State must do better with water infrustructure.

Mark Ahronian | 2013-03-23 12:20:50