Multiple rate hikes by Hingham’s water provider, Aquarion Water Company, prompted Hingham Selectmen to put a feasibility study request on the town meeting warrant to evaluate the possibility of purchasing the water system which services Hingham, Hull, and a small portion of Cohasset.
Town Administrator Ted Alexiades explained to the Water Supply Committee Wednesday night that the $500,000 price tag includes the cost of the study but also potential litigation fees if Aquarion refuses to hand over necessary financial information.
But according to Aquarion Vice President Harry Hibbard, they’re willing to cooperate and will even produce a buy-out number to Hingham, “We’ve offered to meet with the town and share that information and the backup. Frankly, and our hope is to divert the entire feasibility study.”
Hibbard further stated Aquarion will be hosting an open forum April 10th at 7PM at the Hingham Middle School to hear residents’ thoughts and to educate about potential impacts from switching to a town-owned water system.
But the Hingham Water Supply Committee also heard from a Cohasset official to see where they stand on the purchasing study. Only 316 North Cohasset homes are supplied by Aquarion and the rest of Cohasset is supplied by the town’s water department.
But their Water Commissioner, Peter DeCaprio, warned Hingham that a publicly-owned water company is one headache after the next, “[If] you take on operation in house, you take on employees and get into the personnel management business and it’s not easy. The issue gets compounded when you know how complicated running water is from the state permitting requirements–so it’s not an easy proposition.”
The Water Supply Committee plans on meeting with a Hull town official prior to Hingham’s April 23rd town meeting.