Weymouth: Town to be a potential water solution for southfield

Weymouth Mayor Susan Kay said studies and research have determined that Weymouth could provide water to Southfield at full build-out: 2,855 residential units and 2 million square feet of commercial.

Mayor Kay and the DPW gave a presentation of their proposal to Town Council Tuesday night.

“I do feel we can provide full build-out water usage,” Mayor Kay said. She added that the town has about 900,000 gallons of water in excess.

Working with the DPW, Mayor Kay estimates the water usage of Southfield would not exceed about 700,000 gallons per day at full build-out.

Some Councilors suggested the town only provide water to the part of the base that resides in Weymouth. Mayor Kay said she does not have estimates for that scenario, but it is something they could consider. She added that Rockland and Abington have been considering doing the same thing for their portion of the base.

Mayor Kay said they are still looking into whether or not they could provide the sewer services.

Starwood spokesman Bill Ryan said both water and sewer solutions have to be “part of the same package.”

“You can’t do a water solution and finance that without then understanding what the wastewater solution is going to be,” Ryan said, “I think the Mayor did a fantastic job of articulating the opportunity this represents to the community.”

One of the benefits of Weymouth providing water, according to Mayor Kay, is that the water and sewer rates for the town can stay at a lower rate. She added that those rates have not gone up in three years because of the revenue generated from water supply to Southfield.

In this scenario, the DPW would ask Starwood to be responsible for a “buy-in” fee to the MWRA, any infrastructure improvements necessary, and other mitigation items appropriate to the protection of the Weymouth water supply.

“As a partner that can help finance that, we look forward to partnering with the community to make it happen,” Ryan said.

Councilor Thomas Lacey said this is a “huge opportunity” to at least consider.

Councilor Kenneth DiFazio added that this option may also be significantly less money for Starwood, who has proposed an almost $50 million solution to water and wastewater.

Some of the councilors inquired if Weymouth can solve the water problem, why is wasn’t suggested until now.

Mayor Kay said getting water to the site has been an issue dear to her for years, and she did not “know all along” that the town could provide water to Southfield. She added that she took a look at the new proposal and the usage. “I wouldn’t have come before you without that information,” she said.

Mayor Kay said there is a clearer picture now, and she did not think the town would have the capability to provide water services a year ago, but she does now.

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About Samantha Tracey

Samantha Tracey graduated from Salem State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. She has been reporting on local issues in a variety of towns: Bridgewater, Abington, Carver, Weymouth, East Bridgewater, Hanson, Halifax, etc. She says growing up on the South Shore has made it interesting now to be covering news in such familiar places.