The Hopedale Water Department
It's August 20, 2009 as I type these articles from the Milford Daily News. At this time, a bacteria
problem in the Milford water system has resulted in a boil and/or use bottled water situation that has
gone on for about twelve days. Over the last couple of days the town-wide situation has been scaled
back and only part of the town is still affected. I thought this might be a good time to add the following
stories from the Milford Daily News, written in 1948 and 1949, to this site. At that time, Hopedale,
which had been getting its water from the Milford Water Company for about sixty years, decided to
separate and form a town-owned water department. I found the following articles in the scrapbooks at
the Bancroft Library. As you'll see, I've included some of them, and just shown headlines and dates for
Development of Separate Water
System for Hopedale Advocated
A message received from Hopedale selectmen yesterday reveals that plans for a separate water
system for the town are progressing. The message, directed to the people of both towns is as follows:
The selectmen of Hopedale have discussed with the Milford Water Company the question of the
ability of the company to adequately supply the towns of Milford and Hopedale with water, in view of
the increasing population of the two towns and the increasing consumption of water for domestic and
As a result of these discussions, it appears that the capacity of the water company source of supply
is barely sufficient to meet present demands in years having at least average rainfall. Also, that the
filtration equipment at the Dilla Street pumping station will handle no more than the present quantity of
water in a normal winter condition. Either a dry summer and fall period, or a winter freezing condition,
which would interfere with periodic cleaning of the filters, apparently could result in failure of the water
supply of both towns.
Under the conditions, the Hopedale selectmen feel that the town should develop its own source of
supply and pumping plant. Investigations to find a suitable source of supply within the town are
underway. Rep. Earl Crockett of Upton has filed with the state legislature a bill to give the town
authority to buy that portion of the Water Company's distribution system which lies within the town of
Hopedale. (Ed. Note - Rep. Maurice Fitzgerald also favors the bill.)
It is expected that if the legislature and the town approve, and an adequate source of water is found,
construction of a separate Hopedale water system will be started as soon as possible. However,
deliveries on some of the needed equipment are quoted as 18 months to two years, and completion
of the system would be delayed until this equipment is received.
Completion of a Hopedale water system will leave the Milford Water Company's entire source of
supply and pumping and filtration system available to the needs of the town of Milford. We are advised
by water company officials that if they are relieved of the Hopedale demand, the existing capacity of the
system apparently should be adequate to supply the town of Milford for many years to come.
Also, when the Hopedale system is completed, it is expected that the two systems will be arranged
so that either can supply water to the other in case of emergency. This will greatly increase the
amount of water available to either Town in case of a large fire or emergency, and will provide for
stand-by in case of a breakdown in either system. Milford Daily News, April 3, 1948.
Milford-Hopedale Water Fight Opens in Boston - April 28, 1948.
Hopedale Water Bill Gets Third Reading - May 22, 1948.
Hopedale Water Bill Is Amended - June 4, 1948.
Hopedale to Vote on Water Co. Purchase - June 17, 1948.
Stockholders To Act On Hopedale Water Purchase - No date available.
Water Co. Stockholders
Vote Sale to Hopedale
special town meeting and at a meeting of stockholders of the Milford Water Co.
The stockholders meeting held in the office of the Milford Water Co. lasted 20 minutes. Those
attending authorized President C. Fred Butterworth and Treasurer Claude F. Snider to make
arrangements to sell the company's holdings in Hopedale to the town of Hopedale. (In addition to
their positions with the Milford Water Company, both Butterworth and Snider were Draper Corporation
At a special town meeting about 25 voters appeared to vote for the purchase of the property of the
Milford Water Company that lies in Hopedale. Although the price of the Hopedale holdings of the
Milford Water Co. was to have been determined at the stockholders' meeting, it was reported that no
such move was made. It appears certain that the Milford Water Co. property in Hopedale will be sold,
although the final transaction is not expected to go through until September.
Hopedale officials have located an underground water supply near the Howard farm (now the
Hopedale Country Club) on Mill Street in Hopedale, and feel that the water from this area will be
sufficient to supply most of the town. It has been said that the Milford Water Co. will continue to supply
the South Main Street section of Hopedale, for a fee to be paid for by Hopedale.
Just how the loss of Hopedale will affect the Milford Water Co. can only be a matter of speculation at
this time. The loss in revenue from Hopedale customers may cause water rates in Milford to go
higher, some Milford officials believe. Milford Daily News, July 2, 1948.
Town of Hopedale Water Dept.
Formed: Lunt Is Commissioner
separation from the Milford Water Co. George W. Lunt has been named water commissioner.
Customers affected by the changes were notified by letter that the town of Hopedale would send out
water bills only once every three months, the first to be issued Dec. 15.
Madison Goff will take over as superintendent of the Hopedale department. Mr. Goff will, however,
still continue with his duties as superintendent of the Milford Water Co.
At present, water for the Hopedale system will be purchased from the Milford Water Co., and repairs
and all other work will still be done by the Milford Water Co., who will bill the town of Hopedale for the
work. Twenty wells have been drilled on the Howard Farm property off Mill Street, but just when they
will be cut into the Hopedale system is still undecided. The wells are in two rows, each about 50 feet
apart. The actual severing of pipelines from Milford will consist of inserting a valve arrangement in the
mains. In this manner, if either town needs assistance from the other, the valves would merely be
turned on, thus re-joining the two systems.
With the pumping station and piping arrangement nearing completion, some water may be piped
into the Hopedale system from the wells before spring. Because standpipes are to be erected to care
for several sections of the town, the new system may not become fully independent for possibly two
Claude F. Snider, treasurer of the Milford Water Co. and Hopedale's town counsel, has stated that
there are over 700 water customers in the Hopedale area. Milford Daily News, September 16, 1948.
Hopedale Water System Fully
Automatic; Only 2 Workers
21 Driven Wells to Supply Town
By Nick J. Tosches
(First sentence missing) ¦and a new automatic system fed by 21 tubular driven wells in the
Spindleville area will go into operation. The wells are two miles south of Hopedale center. The new
town-owned Hopedale water system is small, but seems destined to be one of the most efficient in
the state. The modern system will supply over 700 customers, with an operating cost of practically
To set up the system the town had to raise $275,000 by a bond issue, notes of which were taken up
by the First National Bank of Boston. Payments on these notes began with the official establishment
of the town system Sept. 15, 1948, and officials estimate the system will be free from debt in about 20
Water is pumped from the wells, 38 to 44 feet deep, by electrically driven motors, which are
automatic and activated by a signal system, with check points in the fire station, at the water plant
maintenance station near town hall, and at the pumping station near the well field. This enables the
department to get along with only one full-time worker, George K. Allen of 263 South Main Street,
maintenance man and meter reader. He formerly worked for the Milford Water Co. The Milford Water
Co. system operates by Diesel engines, and cannot be automatic.
Madison H. Goff of 24 Mendon Street, Hopedale, is superintendent of the system, but his work is
handled on a part-time basis, so his technical skill and services are also being utilized by the
Hopedale Highway Department. Mr. Goff's former job as superintendent of the Milford Water Co. has
been taken over by Lloyd Nelson of Milford. The water commissioners of the Hopedale water system
are Selectmen George W. Lunt, Asa Westcott and Victor Pepper, with Mr. Lunt as chairman.
The decision to locate Hopedale's own water supply was made in the fall of 1948, when Milford
began thinking about buying the Milford Water Co. Several areas were proposed, and a contour map
of the town was drawn by Weston and Sampson of Boston, an engineering firm retained for the work
by the town. After other tests, the site at the rear of the Howard farm off Mill Street was chosen as the
best, and land 500 by 900 feet was bought by the town. The map pointed out several watershed
areas, but tests indicated that the largest underground supply of water draining from nearby ridges
was at the Howard farm. Water trickles down these slopes, ranging in height from 220 to 450 feet,
and collects in large deposits about 30 feet underground. The engineering concern reports that the
supply of water here is more than enough to supply all needs of the 3000 residents, and that of the
Draper Corporation, now employing about 4000 workers.
This well water will be free from chlorine and will not need filtering at the pumping station. Chemists
have found the water pure, and free from harmful bacteria. This water is also cooler than water found
in the Milford system, varying 30 degrees at times.
Two electric motors at the pumping station can draw 300 gallons of water a minute from the well
field. The motors will be operating from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., sending 216,000 gallons into the system
daily. During the evening and early morning hours, water will be fed into homes from a huge
standpipe, erected at the Larches, a private clubhouse, on Williams Street. This tank, about 100 feet
height, is necessary to the system because it provides the pressure needed to circulate water to all
areas. The tank will be kept full whenever possible. It contains 846,000 gallons of water, enough to
supply Hopedale for four days. This insures a supply for the town in case of motor trouble or a serious
break in the mains.
The top of the tank is 527 feet above sea level, and from this height the Atlantic Ocean is visible on
clear days. It is set on a solid ledge foundation, which is topped by a concrete base that took 155
yards of cement to construct. The tank has more than 50 curved steel pieces, each erected and
welded together by a crew of nine men. The base sections weigh about four tons each. The top of the
Hopedale tank is level with that of the Milford Water Co. on Congress Street. This permits the two
systems to be joined at any time without difficulty. The capacity of the Milford tank is 1,133,000 gallons.
The two systems will be separated by four shut-off valves, at Adin, Upper Freedom, Greene and
Williams streets. The main gate will be at Williams Street.
The town of Hopedale and the Milford Water Co. have an agreement which requires them to help one
another in case of necessity. The clause stipulates that the Milford Water Co. must provide Hopedale
with water if the town should ever need it, and that Hopedale must aid Milford all it can during a water
shortage. This agreement is valid with the present owners of the Water Co. and shall continue to be
with any new owners. The agreement assures both towns of a constant water supply regardless of
drought or growing population.
The Hopedale system, town-owned for the past 10 months, has been purchasing water from the
Milford Water Co. When Hopedale begins using its own water, the Milford pumping station can
operate with less strain, and water pressure in the Milford area will be increased. The Milford fire
department also benefits from the change because of the added pressure in its fire hydrant mains.
Hopedale's biggest headache will be its water mains. Accustomed to a west to south flow of water
for nearly 50 years, they now must become adjusted to the flow from south to north and east. Through
the years water has worn a pattern in the linings of the pipes, which will now resist the flow in the
opposite direction. This may mean the motors at the pumping station will be forced to operate under a
strain for the first few years. Nearly 4500 feet of new pipe in the new system will not be affected by this
water flow condition. Workers have laid 2280 feet of 10-inch pipe from the pumping station to the main
on Mill Street, and 2000 feet of 8-inch pipe from Greene Street to Patrick's Corner.
Hopedale has been associated with the Milford Water Co. for the past 60 years. Milford gets its
water from Echo Lake, and from 24 wells on its property on Dilla Street, where the pumping station is
located. The Milford Water Co. first obtained its water from two large wells on this property, but in 1900
as demand for water increased, the company was given permission by the state to tap into Echo
Lake, which is about the size of Cedar Swamp Pond, and situated in Hopkinton.
Last fall Hopedale was given permission by the Department of Public Utilities to buy out its share of
the Milford Water Company., and establish its own water system. Thus a 60-year link between the two
towns has been broken, but there appears to be more good than harm done. The Milford residential
area had been growing steadily the past several years, and with it has come more demand for water.
With 700 customers erased from its books, the Milford Water Co. can now concentrate its efforts in the
Milford area, and make plans for meeting further demands as the growth in the residential areas
continues. Milford Daily News, May, June (?), 1949.
History of the MIlford Water Company
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Foundation for Hopedale water tank behind The Larches.