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Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Jeff McLaughlin, MWRA Community Relations Manager

Update for MWRA Project:
Spot Pond Covered Storage

The Spot Pond Covered Storage Tanks are now in service.

About this Project

In October 2011, MWRA awarded a contract for the construction of a 20 million-gallon water storage facility and pump station on the site of the former Boston Regional Medical Center.

The underground, concrete tanks provide water storage for MWRA’s Low Service area, which includes Charlestown, Chelsea, Malden, Medford, Everett and Somerville. The pump station will provide system redundancy for 21 communities currently served by the Gillis Pump Station, including Stoneham, Wakefield, Woburn and Winchester.

The design calls for upland meadows to be planted on top of the buried tanks providing additional open space and public access adjacent to the Fells Reservation.

If you have questions or concerns about this project, please do not hesitate to contact MWRA Community Relations Manager Jeff McLaughlin, 617-305-5762, or

Spot Pond Tank Site Plan

Spot Pond Facility Site Map

Location | Schedule | The Role of Covered Storage

MWRA Water System | Project Updates


Update -- November 19, 2015

The Spot Pond Covered Storage Tanks are now in service.

MWRA Spot Pond Storage Tanks activated

Update -- September 25, 2015

Please be advised that Executive Drive will be closed to patient traffic for approximately three weeks beginning on Monday, September 28, 2015. During that time, Executive Drive will be restricted to construction vehicles only so that crews can export the stockpile of landfill stored on site. The work will require trucking activity that may impact area traffic.

Police details and signs will be in place to assist with patient access to the medical facility.

Update -- September 9, 2015

The Spot Pond Covered Storage Tank was activated on August 24, 2015.

Update - June 10, 2015

MWRA has constructed two 10 million gallon water storage tanks in Stoneham and will be working to activate this new infrastructure in the coming months. In order to activate these tanks, they must be filled and tested. MWRA will be conducting a series of pressure increases to the following Low Service System communities: Boston – Brighton, Charlestown, and East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford and Somerville. The increases will be conducted in the following three steps:

Step One (June 8-10) - This will increase the pressure from 3 to 4 pounds per square inch (psi) in East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Malden Medford and Somerville. No disruption to service; discolored water is not anticipated.

Step Two (June 11th) - Will increase pressure 2 psi to Brighton. Again, no disruption to service or discolored water is anticipated.

Step Three (TBD) - Increase the pressure another 2 to 4 psi to all the affected communities. This increase in pressure may cause some flow reversals within some of the communities’ water systems. Discolored water is only anticipated for 2 to three days after the pressure increase. If discolored water does occur, it will result from a small amount of iron particles in local pipes. While safe for drinking, cooking and other uses, iron will stain light colored items in your laundry, especially when bleach is used. Therefore residents within this region should check water clarity before washing any white or lightly colored laundry during this period of work. Once this work is scheduled, a notice will be posted.

After testing is completed, the pressure increases will remain and this will now be the operating pressure for MWRA’s Low Service System.

MWRA apologizes for any inconvenience this important water project may present. If you have any questions, please contact Jeff McLaughlin at (617) 305-5762.

Update -- July 11, 2014

Water work may cause discolored water in Melrose - In connection with its Spot Pond Water Storage Tank construction project, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will be shutting down and exercising valves on water mains that supply the City of Melrose on Monday evening July 14, 2014. Water service to homes will not be interrupted; however, there is a slight risk that the increase in water flow within this service zone may cause some discolored water in the area. More information

Update -- June 30, 2014

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will be performing work that will require the closure of Ravine Road beginning Monday, July 7th through August 31st. The closure is necessary to complete piping connections for the Spot Pond Water Storage Tank and Pump Station Project now under construction at the former Boston Regional Medical Center site. More information

Update -- June 9, 2014

COMMUNITY MEETING NOTICE FROM THE MWRA - The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will be hosting a community meeting on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Botume House Visitor Center of the Middlesex Fells Reservation, 4 Woodland Road, Stoneham, MA. More Information

Update -- February 27, 2014

The pipe jacking operation continues to proceed from the medical facility under Woodland Road toward Spot Pond. The jacking is approximately 65% complete.  In preparation of receiving the pipe on the Spot Pond side of Woodland Road, an area of overgrowth and trees needs to be cleared.  Beginning on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, crews will begin to clear the area. Shortly after, the construction crews will proceed to build the receiving pit in preparation to receive the 48-inch overflow pipe.

Update -- October 31, 2013



The MWRA and our contractor Walsh Construction Company will begin to install a 48-inch and 60-inch diameter overflow pipe along the construction access road just off Woodland Road.  The pipe is necessary to provide relief to the new water tanks in the event of an overflow.  The installation of the pipe will begin with a pipe jacking operation underneath Woodland Road.  Once this 48-inch pipe section is installed, the pipe will then transition from the 48-inch to a 60- inch pipe.  This pipe will be installed heading up the access road toward the storage facility.  The 60-inch pipe will be installed by digging a trench and placing 20 foot lengths within the trench.  The pipe trench will be backfilled as the work progresses and eventual paving will take place following the complete pipe installation.


A pipe jacking operation involves the installation of a pipe under a road, river, culvert, etc. to avoid digging (open cut excavation) within identified sensitive or very deep areas.  Pipe jacking as it relates to the Low Service Storage project involves digging two pits.  One on either side of the area being “jacked.”  Generally one pit is larger than the other and this pit is called the jacking or launching pit.  The area on the other side is called the receiving pit and is smaller in size.  The larger access pit will accommodate most of the equipment and the actual pipe that will be jacked in the direction of the receiving pit.
Specific to this phase of work involved with the Spot pond Storage Tanks the contractor will need to cross Woodland Road at the bottom of the construction access road.    In this instance, the contractor will be installing a 48-inch concrete overflow pipe approximately 30 feet below the surface of Woodland Road, Stoneham.  The access pit or launching pit will be built within our easement at the embankment just opposite the construction trailers.  The receiving pit will be directly opposite that on the other side of the road closest to Spot Pond.

Quite a while ago, before we began construction, the contractor built a two way access drive to allow for the connection of the north and west parking areas at the bottom of the construction access road.  This connecting drive will remain open; however, the drive will be narrowed when this phase of work begins.  The narrowing of the drive will be delineated with the placement of jersey barriers.  Employees and patients are urged to proceed slowly when travelling through this area.  If after the placement of the barriers it is determined that assistance is needed for vehicles entering and exiting the parking area, the contractor will provide personnel to assist with vehicular traffic management, as was done in the beginning of the project when the access/exit roads were reconfigured. 


BEGIN                              February, 2014
COMPLETION                   April 1, 2014

BEGIN                                March, 2014
COMPLETE                        April/May 2014

MWRA - Progress Photo Spot Pond Covered Drinking Water Storage, Concrete Placement 10/31/13
Concrete installation continues 10/31/13

Update -- October 29, 2013

MWRA Spot Pond Tank Construction Fall 2013

Tank 2 concrete for base, walls and roof are 100%, 100% and 98% complete, respectively.

Tank 1 concrete for base and walls are 78% and 54% complete, respectively.

Pump Station concrete is 59% complete.

Overall the concrete placement is 71% complete.

The next concrete placement is scheduled for Friday, November 1: walls on Pump Station and Tank 1.

Update -- June 12, 2012

The excavation work for the tank began yesterday.

Update -- June May 18, 2012

UPDATE May 18, 2012 -- MWRA’s contractor, Walsh Construction Company, is currently completing extensive site preparation measures and plans to begin work in late May or early June.

The project will require considerable excavation of land material and will therefore require a steady, regulated flow of trucks to remove the material over a period of 6-8 months during the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Once the excavation is complete, truck traffic will be less extensive, but appropriate public safety measures will remain in place.

MWRA and Walsh Construction have been working closely with the Massachusetts State Police and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to develop an efficient and reliable traffic management plan to ensure the safety of the drivers and pedestrians using the adjacent roads and streets. The plan will include extensive signage to notify travelers and calm traffic in order to augment and reinforce the strategic deployment of State Police.

Please see the Medical Center During Construction map (PDF) and MWRA Spot Pond Truck Route map (PDF) to help guide your travel in and around the area as this important facility is constructed. Please note that the north entrance to the Medical Office Building campus on Woodland Road will be open for use by CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES ONLY throughout the construction period.

We appreciate your patience as we continue our work to provide you with safe and dependable drinking water of the highest quality.

Project updates will be posted here or call our project hotline at (617) 788-1170.

Originally, 17 potential sites in the vicinity of Spot Pond were evaluated for environmental, construction, infrastructure, and cost considerations. The Boston Regional Medical Center site was ultimately chosen as it does not impact the open space adjacent to Spot Pond, it can accommodate the addition of the proposed pump station and has lower construction costs. MWRA purchased the 7-acre site from the Guetierrez Company.

The $49.3 million design/build contract was awarded to Walsh Construction Company. Excavation of the site will begin in early April 2012. Final design will continue for a few months while excavation is underway. Construction of foundations will begin in late summer 2012. Final completion is scheduled for fall 2014.
The Role of Covered Storage

Covered distribution storage is needed within a water system to balance flows during the daily use cycle and to store a reserve supply of treated water to handle unusual or emergency situations such as fires, water main breaks, maintenance activities or other system failures.

MWRA's service area ranges from the hills of central Massachusetts to near sea-level communities on the East Coast. Covered water storage tanks are located at key elevation points, helping to maintain appropriate pressure levels across the system.

Department of Environmental Protection safe drinking water regulations require that distribution storage facilities be covered to protect the quality of treated drinking water. 

MWRA has recently constructed a new network of tanks to protect and store treated drinking water in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The tanks replace a 100-year old system of open reservoirs. Many of the original, open reservoirs – like Spot Pond - are still maintained for emergency use.


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Updated December 15, 2015