Vote Pushes New Filters Forward

The Mattapoisett River Valley Water District Commission voted at its July 13 meeting to move forward with the preliminary design agreement for the Koch Separation filter upgrade to its water treatment plant.

            After Jon Gregory of Tata & Howard told the commission that the preliminary design engineering agreements were set last month for filter replacement, MRV plant manager Henri Renald told the commission that he is “absolutely” good with the plan and reviewed it with Gregory. “I’m very comfortable moving forward with it,” Renauld said.

            MRV Chairman Vinnie Furtado said he, too, is comfortable going forward with the plan. Furtado told the commission that $736,000 was set aside so some of those funds are being used to get the project moving forward as a capital expense.

            Rochester Town Counsel Blair Bailey, who assists the commission, reminded Furtado that the funding was the subject of a vote that took place earlier so the commission should clarify where that money comes from. Furtado said the MRV typically puts an annual $200,000 into a capital fund and that would be the source of the funding.

            The commission voted to approve the $27,696 insurance agreement on the building that houses the MRV’s water treatment plant. The structure, constructed in 2008 for $15,000,000, is now valued at $9,000,000.

            Furtado noted that the City of New Bedford was victimized by ransomware when he said that the insurance company recommends that the Water District consider implementing a stand-alone cyber security system.

            Bailey said that Mattapoisett does not carry its own insurance on the water treatment plant; the policy is completely held by the district according to Renauld. Asked by member Rick Charon that nature of data storage, Renauld said the black box system cannot copy files and send them back to the operator, calling it a “one-way channel.”

            Renauld said the MRV cannot go online with either computer at the treatment plant. There is “no export capability on either one of them. It’s designed that way for protection.”

            In his Tata & Howard report, Gregory said the risk and resilience assessment has been submitted. His Tata & Howard colleague Paul Howard said there is “very little chance of anybody being able to get in there and change anything” because the computers are not on the internet.

            Gregory reported that the PILOT test was completed on June 15 and equipment removed from the treatment plant. Koch, he said, is slowly updating the lab data from the plant, has begun the report and, when complete, will provide it to the MRV. Tata & Howard engineers will review and submit the data to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for review and approval. Gregory said that all the chemical bids for FY22 have come in except for liquid oxygen.

            In his Operations Update, Renauld reported that June produced 75,000,000 gallons of water, a per-day average of 2,500,000 gallons.

            Attending the meeting, Mattapoisett Town Administrator Mike Lorenco asked if he should anticipate the MRV requesting ARPA funds. Lorenco said ARPA money lasts until 2024. “We’re looking for valuable reasons to spend this funding,” he said.

            Total commission invoices for the month totaled $50,823.96, covering most of the PILOT study, and including Tata & Howard at $4,426.

            In the MRV Water Protection Supply Committee that immediately preceded the commission meeting, the advisory committee voted to enter into an agreement with Tata & Howard for FY22 that would finance up to $35,000 for the fiscal year, facilitating the engineering firm’s work on behalf of the MRV.

            In his Treasurers Report to the MRV Water Protection Supply Committee, Jeff Furtado reported a July 1 ending balance of $227,394.98, total credits for FY21 at $90,738.60 and total debt for FY21 at $49,357.42. Jeff Furtado announced two credits, an interest rate Rockland Trust of $2.87 for June, and a $5,000 reimbursement for a monitoring program. Debts included $3,436.29 for Tata & Howard.

            The next meeting of the MRV committee and commission is set for Tuesday, August 10, at 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm respectively.

MRV Water District Commission/Water Protection Supply Committee

By Mick Colageo

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