Published: 2/3/2021 2:44:55 PM
BERNARDSTON — The Bernardston Fire and Water District was among four town water facilities across the state to receive an Energy Conservation Award from the state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) last week.
Specifically, Bernardston was recognized for having installed a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system at the Pratt Field Wellhead Area, as well as for installing a soft-start and variable-speed drive at the Sugar House pumping station. As a result, the district achieved net-zero energy status by reducing electric demand and generating more than 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year to power the water pumps and associated equipment.
Bernardston Fire and Water District member and former Chair Bill Pachalis said the district is glad to be recognized for the work its members had put into the project. The system was installed roughly a year and a half ago, and is now up and running.
“We were able to do the project with the help of a grant from MassDEP, and now it is complete, online, and we’re starting to receive energy credits,” Pachalis explained. “Overtime, when the field is paid for, it will supply all the power needed for our pump houses, office building — pretty much everything for the water district — and then some surplus.”
He said the Bernardston Fire and Water District is considering “donating” any surplus to Town Hall, the Bernardston Fire Department or another town entity.
Across the state, 91 public water systems received various awards. According to a MassDEP press release, the criteria for the awards include “excellent water service to the public; no violations or non-compliance issues; and efforts that support public water supply services, such as source-water protection, water quality and conservation.”
MassDEP works with drinking water utilities to make sure that the water delivered to consumers meets all federal and state standards, and is clean and abundant. For more than 30 years, during National Drinking Water Week in May, MassDEP has awarded exemplary systems that have reached meritorious service for their work in the previous calendar year. This year’s public ceremony, however, was held virtually and through the mail in December due to restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to recognize dedicated and exceptional drinking water providers who share a commitment to ensuring that residents have access to safe, clean, healthy drinking water,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said in the release. “Their efforts in daily monitoring, testing, adjusting and collaborating with others in public health and environmental protection have demonstrated a high level of commitment to the safety and health of Massachusetts residents, and we thank them for their continued hard work and dedication.”
“MassDEP recognizes that last…