Administrative Consent Order

On April 22, 2024, the Commission entered into an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regarding disinfection byproducts. Read the ACO here.

What is an ACO?

An ACO is a legal document that codifies an agreed-upon resolution and outcome between an entity and its regulating governmental body. In this case, the Commission is a public water supplier and its regulating body is MassDEP, which oversees drinking water regulations in the state. MassDEP has a responsibility to ensure that water quality violations are addressed appropriately and as quickly as possible by public water suppliers.

The ACO outlines the set of actions that led to the need for the agreement, and the steps that the regulated entity will take to resolve the issue. In this case, the issue is the Commission’s ongoing exceedances of disinfection byproducts (DBPs), which will be resolved with the construction of a new water plant. Exceedances of DBPs are occurring because the Commission’s 1974 West Parish Filters Water Treatment Plant is not designed to meet today’s DBP regulations, particularly as climate change alters reservoir water quality.

As design for the new treatment plant advanced from 2021-2023, the accuracy of the schedule for its construction and completion also became more clear. The ACO documents the progression of the new treatment plant’s design and schedule over that time period. The ACO solidifies the new plant’s completion date (September 30, 2028), and thus the resolution to DBPs.

What does this mean?

The ACO sets the construction completion date for the new water treatment plant on September 30, 2028. This is in accordance with the Commission’s own projected schedule for completion prior to the initiation of the ACO.

The Commission will continue to notify the public of any exceedances of disinfection byproducts.

Questions about the ACO?

Contact the Commission at 413-452-1302 or info@waterandsewer.org