Council Approves Zero Interest Loan From MWRA

By Adam Swift

The Town Council approved appropriating nearly $1 million as part of the town’s continuing efforts to replace lead water service lines in town.

The $980,000 zero interest loan from the MWRA will pay for the removal and replacement of about 100 lead lines, according to public works director Steve Calla.

“This is a continuation of our lead line removal initiative and we are committed to this program,” said Calla.

Calla said the Department of Environmental Protection has increased the number of lead water service lines the town is required to remove each year. In addition to full lead service lines, the DEP is now mandating the removal of partial lead service lines in their calculations, he said.

“This will service about 100 services, this is an interest-free loan from the MWRA,” said Town Council President Jim Letterie. “This is not reinventing the wheel, this is something we have done for many years and will continue to do until we are at zero.”

Calla said there 423 of the full lead service lines remaining in town, and about 400 partial lead service lines.

Precinct 2 Councillor John Munson asked if each replacement cost $10,000.

Calla noted that the project will go out to bid, so the cost could be lower. He also noted that the cost also includes asphalt restoration and engineering costs in addition to replacement of the service line.

In other business, Town Manager Tony Marino said he and Precinct 5 Councillor Joseph Aiello recently took part in a meeting with MassDOT, the MBTA, and commuter ferry communities about the future of ferry service.

Marino noted that the town will enter the second year of a two-year agreement with the MBTA next year for the MBTA to run the Winthrop Ferry. He said he was hoping for a strong year so that the MBTA operation of the ferry service could potentially become permanent.

Marino also announced that there will be a meeting on the town’s tax rate with the board of assessors at the Nov. 28 Town Council meeting.

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