City Council to Consider ‘Friendly’ Land Taking to Further Protect Haverhill Drinking Water Supply

Haverhill Water Treatment Plant, Amesbury Road. (Courtesy photograph.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Haverhill city councilors are expected tonight to approve what has been described as a “friendly” taking of almost 37 acres of land adjacent to Brandy Brow Road to help protect the city’s water supply.

The Haverhill City Council last week approved borrowing $780,000 to pay for the 36.8 acres near the East Meadow River. The East Meadow River is the main feed to the Millvale Reservoir, which supplies more than half of Haverhill’s drinking water.

Haverhill Public Works Director Robert E. Ward said the purchase is an important one for the city and has been a fairly long time in coming.

“It’s going to be a friendly taking. We’ve negotiated with the property owner, might be going on two years now. This is a really important piece of property, a really important area. As you know, keeping land in its natural state is the best way to protect your water quality; keeps the water cleaner, less stress on the water treatment plant, lowers your treatment costs,” he said last week.

The land is owned by D and D Realty Trust, which lists Richard P. Early Sr., as trustee. The parcels are different than those purchased from Early in 2021, as WHAV reported at the time, to prevent housing development.

Councilors thanked Ward for his work in making the project a reality. Council Vice President John A. Michitson pointed out, however, the project could not have been successful without the help of the citizens who live in the area.

“This, by the way, was truly a bottom-up effort, a grass roots effort that was led by the citizens that live in that part of the city and they’re sitting back there and let’s give them a big hand,” he said.

Ward said, in addition to providing the city’s water supply, the area is conservation land, providing public recreation opportunities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, wildlife viewing and educational programs.

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