Warrant from the Hopedale Town Report for 1948.

Foundation for Hopedale water tank behind The Larches.
The water tower in 2008, behind The Larches.

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 others.

                                                       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 industrial purposes.

  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

  Hopedale’s move to establish its own water system took a double jump forward yesterday, and a 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 officers.)

  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

  Hopedale’s town-owned water department went into legal existence yesterday, completing the 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 years.

  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 nothing.

  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 years.

  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.

Water filtration plant, c. 2010.

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 Inside the water filtration plant              Water and Sewer Department

  History of the MIlford Water Company  

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