Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


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July 7, 2000


The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will begin construction of the new Norumbega covered storage facility in Weston next week. The first phase of the project will involve clearing about 30 acres of land next to the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The MWRA is replacing the current Norumbega Reservoir with a 115 million-gallon storage tank as part of the MWRA’s Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program, which will, among other things, replace five open distribution reservoirs. Open reservoirs, which hold treated water prior to entering the distribution system, do not prevent contamination from birds, dust and leaves. The new facilities will ensure that treated water cannot be recontaminated before entering the distribution system.

When completed in 2004, the Norumbega Project will eventually store water treated at the new Walnut Hill Treatment Plant in Marlborough for distribution to over 2 million people in 35 communities in Metropolitan Boston. The reinforced concrete storage tank, which will be one of the largest in the country, will be buried below ground and covered by meadow grasses.

The Norumbega Covered Storage Project is the next major step in the MWRA’s Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program. The 10-year, $1.7 billion program includes the construction of the 17.6 mile MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel, the Walnut Hill Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough, watershed protection, pipeline rehabilitation and five concrete storage tanks, including Norumbega. "The construction of the Norumbega Covered Storage Tank is a key link in the MWRA’s Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program designed to ensure our high quality drinking water remains safe all the way to the customer’s tap," said MWRA Executive Director, Douglas B. MacDonald. "When the major components of the program are completed in 2004, water treated at the new plant in Marlborough will be delivered to customers in a closed system of pipes and tanks without being exposed to contamination from birds, animals or the atmosphere."

The $89 million contract was awarded to Norumbega Contractors, a joint venture of J.F. White Contracting Company and Slattery Skanska, Inc, with Metcalf and Eddy and Weidlinger Associates as major participants. The MWRA is using an innovative design/build construction method where a single contractor provides both design and construction services. By using the design/build method, the MWRA expects to shorten the duration of the project and reduce overall project costs.