Haverhill Water Upgrades to Cost $17.1 Million; Loan Before Council

Deputy Public Works Director Robert E. Ward.

The city projects it will cost water ratepayers at least $17.1 million to complete planning, engineering and construction of a “radial collector well” system in order to draw water from the Merrimack River as a “new drinking water source for the city.”

Mayor James J. Fiorentini is requesting the Haverhill City Council authorize a 20-year, $17.1 million loan order, through a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) state revolving fund (SRF), payable beginning during 2021 and 2022. It will be placed on file for two weeks during Tuesday’s council meeting. The city filed an SRF application with DEP last month and is expected to learn by January whether it would qualify, according to Deputy Public Works Director Robert E. Ward. Nearly three weeks ago, as WHAV reported, Fiorentini and Ward brought the city’s water supply concerns, in light of drought conditions since the summer, to the council.

“This loan order will fund the design, permitting and construction of a radial collector riverbank well system and 24-inch transmission main from the well to the city’s water treatment plant,” Ward wrote in a memo Thursday. “The riverbank filtration was the Water Supply Committee’s recommended withdrawal technique because it uses sand and gravel for ‘natural’ filtration for enhanced water quality prior to further treatment at the water treatment plant.”

Early September, in a “Minute With The Mayor” message, Fiorentini pointed out the city began exploring alternatives including “test” ground wells along the Merrimack seven years ago. He explained a plan to connect such wells directly to the water treatment plant at Kenoza Lake would not impact the water quality there.

“Almost all the communities around us, including Methuen and Lawrence and Lowell, have drawn their water from the Merrimack River for decades without any problems whatsoever. We need to move forward to do that so that our citizens will always have enough water,” Fiorerntini said at the time.

8 thoughts on “Haverhill Water Upgrades to Cost $17.1 Million; Loan Before Council

  1. The river will become an excellent source of water. The Merrimzc River was once one of the most pristine bodies of water on the planet . We realize that it is fed from various tributaries from the White mountains where supposedly it begins to Haverhill and beyond .In bygone days in the early history of our country sailing ships would row their long boats to places up the river to fill their fresh water supplies as they continued their world wide tours .The river gets more water from the springs that exist in the river bed. They springs not only provide an excellent source of clean clear water the percolating action of the springs help to keep the river clean Recent actions to stop the flow of pollution into the river have dramatically improved the rivers cleanliness . The mayor has once again developed plans for our city that improve things for us, the residents and tax payers

    • The mayor is a NATIONAL disgrace !!
      Every person who lives in the city should be embarrassed by his targeting a taxpaying citizen of Haverhill who happens to have presidential campaign signs in his yard for the candidate the mayor opposes. The mayor knowingly and intentionally set out to deny someone their First Amendment rights to free speech. The issue of the signs aren’t about Trump or Hillary or what candidate someone supports, they are about our fundamental rights as citizens to express our support for any candidate we choose…and the mayor set out to target ONE specific citizen to deny those rights. As chief executive of the city’s government it is his job to “protect” those rights for all citizens at all cost. But this sleazy, lying, corrupt mayor went out of his way to ignore that responsibility for the sake of politics. He’s an absolutely disgusting human being.

    • The Mayor has known for a decade about the issues at the water dept. Only NOW he decides to act only because once again, IT HAS BECOME A CRISIS. Management by crisis Mr. Edwards is his motus operendi. The Hunking school is no different. He knew back in 2000 there were serious issues with that school. why wait 15 years ?

      Let us not forget that when we get heavy rains, plants from Manchester down overflow raw sewage into the river. I agree the river is a good source but a lot more needs to be done. The Mayor is far from the hero people like to say he is. It is pretty easy to govern when there is on other alternative.

  2. That price tag is not to be taken lightly. Is this is really necessary? How is this going to effect our water bills? What is wrong with our current water source? I don’t see any mention of selling extra water to recoup some of the cost. I don’t think we should rush into this decision over fear. I believe this is worst drought in 30 years and we still have enough water. So why do we need to draw more water?

    • This is on top of the recent $37+ million dollar loan to perform an “end-to-end” upgrade of the Water Treatment Plant, with repayment starting next July. I bought in Haverhill a little over 3 years ago because it was affordable until my then unborn son was in school, but the taxes and fees have jumped substantially over that time and it may be time to leave even before Junior is ready for school. Which is really too bad. But don’t worry, the Mayor’s platform will be to say that he didn’t raise taxes to the absolute max a of 2.5% – we’ll just suck it up on our water bills instead, and he’ll make no mention of that.

      Just another reason for ClearGov to be available to the public and not just city government. We need to know all of the facts, not just what’s presented to us.

      • Just 3 days ago you said to me “maybe you should move” when I commented here about a criminal illegal trespasser caught with $1Million in cocaine.

        Maybe you should take your own advice.

        • I have an issue with the Mayor’s magic act with taxes and fees. As do many people. I posted that after you made yet another attack on Andy Vargas.

          I don’t have an unhealthy obsession with a particular hard working city councilor like you do, Jack. One who has offered you his phone number and email address numerous times, and has also offered to have coffee with you and have a civil discussion in person. Of course, you’re a troll and stay back in the shadows anonymously as always and decline to actually speak with him. He’s done more for accountability in the city in his short tenure than most have done over years and years.

          I’d post your name for all to see, but I don’t like to get in internet message board battles with people like you. Carry on, “Jack with two pseudos” – XOXO. Good luck in the next road race, I hope you set a new PR.

          • You’re preaching to the choir when it comes to having an issue with mayor taxman and the shell game he plays with city finances…but, of course, you know that. Talk about an unhealthy obsession.

            I made no mention at all about Andy in the article you replied to me on. My comments on this forum questioning him on his actions as an elected public official are extremely relevant for “everyone” to know about. The fact that he refuses to answer those questions about his actions publicly, when he has responded to other issues on this site, says a lot about his personal position on important issues. People have a right to know where he stands…especially when it comes to supporting illegal trespassers living in the City of Haverhill. To date, he has refused to answer my direct questions on this forum regarding that issue. As such, I’m going to keep pointing that fact out each time it comes up. If he was all about transparency he would answer the question.