Water System History & Description

History of Springfield's Water Supply

The Springfield water system dates back to 1848 when the Springfield Aqueduct Company was formed. In 1863, the City of Springfield began to investigate new water supplies. In 1872, the City purchased the Springfield Aqueduct Company and began to develop the Ludlow Reservoir by purchasing the land surrounding the reservoir site. In November 1875, the 1.71-billion gallon Ludlow Reservoir became the City’s primary water supply.

In 1910, construction of the Borden Brook Reservoir (2.5 billion gallons) was completed and this became the City’s primary supply. The Ludlow Reservoir continued to be the primary supply for Ludlow and a secondary supply for Springfield. Borden Brook Reservoir served as Springfield’s primary supply until 1931, when Cobble Mountain Reservoir was built, and this 22.8-billion gallon reservoir has been the City of Springfield’s primary water supply source ever since. Borden Brook Reservoir is still an active water source and feeds into the Cobble Mountain Reservoir. The Ludlow Reservoir is maintained as an emergency water supply.

Treatment

Water flows from the Cobble Mountain Reservoir to the West Parish Water Filtration Plant in Westfield, where it is filtered and treated to protect public health. The filtration process removes particles and impurities from the water. Then, the pH of the water is adjusted and corrosion inhibitors are added to protect home plumbing. Finally, chlorine is added to disinfect the water before it flows into the transmission and distribution systems for delivery to our customers.

West Parish Filtration Plant

Storage

After leaving the West Parish Water Filtration Plant, the water travels through three transmission mains to our four storage tanks located on Provin Mountain in Agawam. The four tanks have a total storage capacity of 60 million gallons.

Provin

Distribution

Water flows by gravity from the Provin Mountain storage tanks to the majority of the Springfield and Ludlow system. The Commission utilizes pump stations to provide increased pressure to higher elevation areas and surrounding communities.

The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission is responsible for your drinking water from the watershed and reservoir, through treatment, storage and distribution to your tap. In addition to serving the residents of Springfield and Ludlow, the Commission provides wholesale water to the communities of Agawam, East Longmeadow, and Longmeadow and provides partial service or peak service to Southwick, Westfield, and West Springfield. The Commission can also provide water on an emergency basis to Chicopee and Wilbraham.

Power Generation

The Commission owns Cobble Mountain Hydro-Power Station which is located in the Town of Granville, Massachusetts. The Station utilizes stored water head energy at the Cobble Mountain Reservoir Dam to generate green power while water is conveyed to the Commission’s West Parish Water Filtration Plant. The generated power is transferred and sold to the ISO New England electricity market. The Plant can produce up to 33 Megawatts-hour at full capacity through three turbine generators; two rated at 13.6 Megawatts and one at 5.7 Megawatts. In FY 2012, the plant output was 30,400 Megawatts. The Commission controls and limits the amounts of water available for power generation to ensure safe-yield water storage under various seasonal conditions and drought scenarios.

The Commission is currently in a five-year agreement with the City of Holyoke Gas & Electric Department (HG&E) to manage, operate and maintain the Station. The agreement expires June 30, 2016. The Commission has also entered into a separate five-year parallel agreement with HG&E to provide marketing agency and facilitation of power sales into the ISO-New England market.

Over the last year, the Commission has spent approximately $142,000 for mechanical, structural, and inspection works at the station; and is currently planning for a five-year inspection of the power tunnel and penstocks, a major overhaul of generation Unit #3, and structural rehabilitation works within the next three years.

Water System Historical Photos

Click images to enlarge.

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