Category Archives: Water Infrastructure and Regulation

The WRAC Rides Again

After a year or so of down time, the  Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC)  is resuming its responsibilities with a new charge and partially new membership.  The WRAC advises the Acton Board of Selectmen on issues relating to water resource systems in Acton, including water supply, surface water, groundwater, stormwater and wastewater.  

WRAC meetings are open to the public and are announced here.  Their next meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at 7pm, at the Acton Water District Headquarters at 693 Massachusetts Avenue.  This could be an important meeting, as they will be brainstorming how to implement the three non-binding resolutions on water that were approved at the spring 2017 Town Meeting.

  • Article 26: Water Resources Study
  • Article 27: Water Resource Sharing
  • Article 28: Affirming Acton’s Right

Background: Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC)

The Acton Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) is an official committee of the Town of Acton that advises the Board of Selectmen (BoS) on issues related to water resources in Acton, including water supply, surface water, groundwater, stormwater, and wastewater.  Meetings are approximately monthly, are open to the public, and are announced here.

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How does Acton say “No” to Concord’s expansion of their Nagog Pond water treatment plant?

The dispute over Concord’s application to enlarge its water treatment plant at Nagog Pond seems to be coming down to a question of whether Acton’s elected leaders have the legal authority to say “no” to a development that is opposed by virtually every Acton resident who has submitted either oral or written testimony throughout the long series of hearings.

In this document, Green Acton member and former Selectman Terra Friedrichs has compiled cases in which various judges in Massachusetts have supported the local authority’s denial of a proposed project for various reasons. Continue reading

Q & A on BoS Nagog Pond hearing

The dispute over Concord’s application to expand its water treatment capacity at Nagog Pond has entered a new phase. The Massachusetts Land Court remanded the issue back to the Acton Board of Selectmen for an additional round of public input and deliberation. New questions are emerging, and this post makes a start at answering some of them:

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Background for Nov. 20, 2017 hearing on Nagog Pond

On Nov. 20, 2017, the Acton Board of Selectmen (BoS) will re-open the hearing for Concord’s proposed work to replace and upgrade their water pumping and treatment facility on Nagog Pond. Here’s a link to the hearing notice.

Green Acton’s position is to urge our Board of Selectmen to vote no on Concord’s application to expand their water treatment capacity at Nagog Pond. Here is a link to the complete position and rationale, agreed to with the unanimous consent of Green Acton’s directors.

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Chapter 201 Acts of 1884: Nagog Pond

Nagog Pond is one of the Commonwealth’s “Great Ponds” (greater than 20 acres), thus it is controlled by the State, not by any particular Town. In 1884 the State legislature laid out the rights of Acton, Concord, and Littleton to the withdrawal of water from Nagog Pond. Continue reading

Water Infrastructure and Regulation

Many complicated things have to happen for safe drinkable to arrive at your home from nature. The physical infrastructure involves pipes, wells and treatment plants. In addition, a web of laws and regulations try to ensure that the water is free of dangerous levels of pollutants and is  distributed according to need and is not excessively wasted.

Organizations that deal with Acton water:

  • Acton Water District (AWD):  state-chartered government entity that provides water to more than 90% of the households in Acton.
  • Water Land Management Advisory Committee (WLMAC):  Citizen’s committee that advises the Acton Water District and AWD Commissioners (minutes & agendas).
  • Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC):  Town committee that advises the Acton Board of Selectmen on water-related issues.
  • OARS:  a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect, improve and preserve the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers, their tributaries and watersheds, for public recreation, water supply, and wildlife habitat.  All of Acton falls with the Assabet watershed.