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February 19, 2003

MWRA Plans to Award $120 Million in Construction Contracts in 2003

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) plans to issue 31 Notices To Proceed in 2003 on construction projects worth approximately $120 million. About $89 million is slated for projects related to the MWRA sewer system, combined sewer overflows, and Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant asset protection.

In November 2002, the MWRA lost $47.2 million in FY03 funding when the state budget crisis forced the Governor to eliminate the state’s Sewer Rate Relief Fund. In response, the MWRA Board of Directors voted in January 2003 to defer $63 million in capital project spending during the FY03-05 time period. Sixteen projects were deferred in time ranging from six months to six years.

About $31 million of the contract activity for 2003 will be focused on improvements to the MWRA’s drinking water supply system. The Authority’s 10-year, $1.7 billion Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program is fully underway with construction of water treatment, transmission, covered storage and water pipeline rehabilitation projects. The Walnut Hill Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough is now 75% complete and on schedule for a late 2004/early 2005 start-up. The 18-mile long MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel from the Walnut Hill plant to Weston is now 99% complete. The massive Norumbega Covered Storage tank is now 75% complete alongside the Massachusetts Turnpike in Weston.

Most of the water projects to be awarded in 2003 are water pipeline rehabilitation projects. MWRA has an aggressive program to rehabilitate nearly 200 miles of old unlined cast iron and steel water mains that distribute water to the 47 member water communities. A $28 million covered water storage project at Blue Hills in Quincy will also be awarded in late 2003, with an early 2004 Notice to Proceed date. MWRA received legislative approval to use the design/build procurement method for the 20 million gallon storage tank project.

The largest MWRA project to be awarded in 2003 is the $37 million Union Park CSO facility, which will detain and treat wet weather flows from Boston’s South End neighborhood. The facility will include underground detention tanks, screens to remove floating material, disinfection and dechlorination systems and a surface building adjacent to the Boston Water & Sewer Commission’s Union Park Pump Station.

Eleven projects at the 1.27 billion-gallon-per-day capacity Deer Island Treatment Plant are planned to make ancillary modifications to various treatment processes or replace/repair equipment. The $3.8 billion Boston Harbor Project was successfully completed in 2001 and the treatment plant has been effectively meeting a strict EPA discharge permit and helping Boston Harbor make a tremendous environmental turn-around.