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Three communities with a history of water challenges are moving toward creating a jointly owned water treatment plant.
Randolph and Holbrook share a treatment plant that is almost a century old, and Braintree’s dates to the 1930s. The three communities constitute the Tri-Town Water Board.
Discussions about replacing the treatment plant began more than two decades ago, according to Randolph Town Manager David Murphy.
“We’ve been spending a considerable amount of money for an aged facility,” he said.
Murphy said that the cost of the water plant is expected to be between $45 million and $50 million.
“We see the economics of a tri-town regional plant as much more favorable,” Murphy said. “We also believe that having control over rate-setting is a valuable plus.”
Murphy said he can envision the regional water plant being built within three to five years, once the Tri-Town Board gives its approval.
The three communities passed over the option of joining the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which provides water or sewer services to 61 cities and towns.
Randolph’s Town Council voted in late March to recommend that the Tri-Town Board of Water Commissioners authorize the shared water treatment plant.
“We’re in a position where all three towns have agreed with the idea that we should build one facility,” said Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan. “I think there was a level of parochialism for a period of time that has subsided.”
Sullivan said that the three municipalities have been providing data to the Department of Environmental Protection for the past 18 months and expect to hear from the DEP soon.
According to Jennifer Pederson, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Works Association, the most recent regional water treatment plant – serving Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion and Rochester – won local approval in 2004 and went online in 2007.