Friday, August 2, 2013


Orchard Hill, E. Pleasant Street.  Water towers are routinely located on high ground

The 1.5 million gallon UMass water tower on East Pleasant Street is closing in on completion of a major $1 million renovation and should be fully functional in time for the return of the students in the next few weeks. 

A water tower's main function is to maintain round the clock pressure in the water system and provide extra back up in case of a peak draw (hot summer day) or unexpected event, like a major fire. 

UMass is hooked into the Amherst water/sewer system, which they pay for like anyone else.

Amherst owns the smaller tank next to the UMass tank but it only holds 500,000 gallons.  Additionally the town has two larger tanks each holding about the same as the UMass tank, or 1.5 million gallons.

Thus our total reserves when the UMass tank goes back online will be 5 millions gallons in all the tanks and another 1 million in clear wells near the two treatment plants.

Project got off to a rocky start mid May as lift machine stranded worker near top of tower, requiring AFD rescue

 On average Amherst consumed 2.65 million gallons per day of treated water last year, with UMass sucking up 31% of the total.

I'm told UMass wanted to install a "check valve" device to restrict the tank water only to their side of the system, but the town denied the request.

According to DPW Chief Guilford Mooring: "We are now in a very good position: The reservoirs are full. Every year is different and this is a good year. Usually we are shutting down the reservoirs because they are getting too low and the water quality is poor."

UMass tower is also a beacon for malevolent spirits

Hadley Water Tower, East Street


Anonymous said...

I'm told UMass wanted to install a "check valve" device to restrict the tank water only to their side of the system, but the town denied the request.

So UMass buys water from Amherst -- at twice the rate everyone else does to fill this tower, but can't put a valve in it to prevent it from going back into the town's pipes?

How many times does Amherst expect UMass to purchase the same gallon of water?

Larry Kelley said...

They do not pay "twice the rate of everyone else", and the town gives them oceans of free effluent for the spiffy power plant.

Anonymous said...

Larry, check your facts.

What is the rate (per cubic foot) that UMass pays and what is the rate that Larry Kelly pays?

Second, the town DUMPS sewer effluent into a stream, a stream that UMass has been using since the 19th Century as the source of water for its various steam plants. The still standing "Old" Old steam plant, and across the "gulch" the "New" old steam plant (now torn down) -- both located to access a stream (now piped underground from the campus pond spillway) that happens to be the same one the town uses to dispose of its sewerage.

Third, exactly what right does the Town of Amherst have to charge UMass for the use of water which is flowing across UMass-owned land IN HADLEY?

If anything, UM ought to be billing Amherst a disposal charge.

Anonymous said...

As an aside, I'd loved to have seen UM play hardball and tell the town "OK, we not only aren't going to *pay* for your sewer effluent, but we aren't going to *allow* you to dump it onto our land, either."

Amherst would have had to pay an incredible amount of money (daily) to truck the "oceans" of supposedly valuable effluent somewhere else, and dump it. Where?

Your front lawn, Larry? Would people want their swimming pools filled with it (NO!) -- it smells like sewer effluent and even though it won't kill you should you drink it -- you don't want to.

UMass is doing Amherst a big favor by taking this stuff that otherwise the town WOULD HAVE TO PAY TO SOMEHOW DUMP - SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Its just like Detroit -- everyone colluding to screw the customer -- except that like the Japanese cars that destroyed Detroit's monopoly, the educational monopoly of places like Amherst will soon end. Within the decade.

Watch Amherst go bankrupt. And cheer....

Larry Kelley said...

Actually UMass pays $3.40 for water and $3.55 for sewer per 100 cubic feet, the same as I, except they use a lot more.

At one point they were paying 50 cents per 100 cubic feet for the effluent but then the Select Board voted 3-2 to nix the charge as part of the "five year strategic agreement".

The last year they were paying for it (at the cheap 50 cents rate) they paid the town $38,000.

Anonymous said...

I remember plans for the UMass logo to be painted on the tank were discussed at one point

Please tell me that this plan is a no go!


BTW- dumpster and other signs of change at Babetown

Larry Kelley said...

I think years ago somebody was fired over the logo painting affair, so I'm pretty sure you will not see a logo when this gets a final coat (you can tell by they way they primed it).

Yeah, not that I drive by there all that often, but I did notice the dumpster in the front yard a few days ago.

Maybe once they figured out (or Daddy did) they could not win a lawsuit against me, they decided to move out.

Anonymous said...

Watch for Babetown to be sold. Or foreclosed on.

And 3-4-5-6 children in the K-12 as a result

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if it was the railroad who built the Hadley water tower? It is so close to the old track that one wonders if it was initially built to refill steam trains (which used a LOT of water).

Larry, complain as you wish, but you are getting a bargain water rate, people who use the Quabbin are paying about $5 for water and $10 for sewer, or a combined rate more than twice yours.

And as to the effluent, the issue as I understand it is that since they have to distill the water anyway, it really doesn't matter what they use for water. It isn't like a lot of other people want this sewerage water.

Larry Kelley said...

Guilford Mooring confirmed that the old water tower on East Street does not belong to the town, and he thought it could be owned by the RR.

Anonymous said...

The effluent from the Amherst treatment plant is discharged to the Connecticut river thru a underground 36" force main that is 2.6 miles long.

Anonymous said...

The effluent from the Amherst treatment plant is discharged to the Connecticut river thru a underground 36" force main that is 2.6 miles long.

Which, I presume, is a situation similar to UM's now-abandoned permit to burn coal -- permitted because it is a cleaned-up legacy of an earlier era, but something that would not be permitted (new) today.

And as the treatment plant is surrounded by UMass, the pipe inherently has to cross UM land -- and while the town may have an easement for it (or may not -- there was an awful lot of paperwork not done in the 1960s), UM has the power of eminent domain and could take the pipe the way it took three town roads.

travels across UM land in Hadley -- as Amherst is not contiguous to the Connecticut River. And even if the town has an easement which the University acquired along with the land, UM's eminent domain power includes town land -- North Hadley Road & Lincoln Avenue are two town roads that largely disappeared, with Ellis Avenue completely disappearing.

Anonymous said...

The permit for the facility is issued every five years after review and submission to the E.P.A. and Ma. D.E.P. The latest permit begin issued this past September authorizing discharge to the Connecticut river.

Anonymous said...

Larry, do you happen to know when those water towers (on e.pleasant) were built? just wondering.

Larry Kelley said...

No, but they've been there as long as I can remember.