Costs Drive Water/Sewer Strategy

The Metro South Chamber recently announced a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Donahue Economic Development Institute to study and document steps for establishing a regional water use and reclamation authority. This study is based upon best practices and with the intent to derive greater use and economies of scale through better management and coordination of existing infrastructure.

At the Good Morning Metro South kick-off breakfast held recently in September, Dan Hodge, Director of Economic Public Policy and Research at the UMass Donahue Institute, gave an update on the progress and action plan of the Water/Sewer Authority Investigative Analysis. (Photos in October Action Report)

The study is currently in Phase 1: gathering extensive background information. This means researching existing conditions  in Metro South, (rates, infrastructure, capacity constraints, etc.) and best practices in regional water or sewer collaboration, as well as conducting interviews with key informants.

From the interviews, three major themes were concluded. First is that there are permit delays to expand the Brockton Area Water Reclamation Facility allowable capacity. Second, there is significant interest from surrounding towns in collaboration with Brockton sewer service, but less so for a water collaboration. Towns were generally interested in sewer service (in replace of septic) as an aid in economic development, but some towns feel they have an adequate water supply. Thirdly, the interviews showed overarching concerns over autonomy, control, and governance of a regional collaboration.

From this point, UMass Donahue Institute will continue in their phase 1 research to gain insight on additional best practices and to draft an interim report. From there, the research team will develop potential regional collaboration implementation scenarios and outline quantitative and qualitative benefits and costs of these scenarios. This research will result in a final report to be presented to the Chamber.

Stay tuned for more details to follow in upcoming Chamber Action Reports.

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