WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 97 of 211

As a result of these efforts to keep the reservoirs clean, the MWRA is one of five large water suppliers in the nation exempt from federal requirements for a water-filtration plant. Now let's take the plunge. Look through the portholes and notice how clear the water is. It circulates here for months, shedding sediment, and basking in the disinfecting ultraviolet light of the sun. We may spot fish, including trout, bass, and salmon. Fishing, but not swimming, is allowed in the Quabbin. About 90 feet below the surface, on the southeast side of the Quabbin, we enter the Quabbin Aqueduct for our 24.6-mile trip to the Wachusett Reservoir. The concrete-encased tunnel is 11 feet wide by just under 13 feet high, which is comparable to other aqueducts and tunnels we'll pass through. Our sub doesn't need an engine; gravity is on our side. The tunnel's exit is 135 feet lower in elevation than its entrance. Our travel time: 18 hours on average. The Oakdale hydropower station harnesses the energy of the water as it streams into the Wachusett. It's located in West Boylston at the northwest edge of the V-shaped reservoir. We'll circulate in the Wachusett for a month before exiting some five miles to the west in Clinton at the Cosgrove intake station, which also has a power turbine. It's a good thing that our sub is so tiny, because the intake tunnels located 70 feet below the water's surface are protected by wire mesh 96 A Fantastic Voyage W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 Now let's take the plunge. Look through the portholes and notice how clear the water is. W A T E R B A C K G R O U N D : P O I N T S S T U D I O / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; T O Y S U B : M E D I A B A K E R Y that blocks anything larger than a quarter-inch square. An automated rotation system periodically pulls the screens to the surface, where they are blasted with water to remove accumulated twigs, leaves, and the occasional mashed fish. Once inside the Cosgrove station, we won't see daylight until some- one turns on a faucet. After doing our part to propel the energy turbine, we'll take an abrupt, 300-foot stomach-flipping drop to the 9-mile tunnel leading down to the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough. Carroll, the long-time town manager of Norwood, has served on the MWRA board since that authority was established in 1985. Now let's hope our sub is truly watertight and heavy-duty. The treat- ment center will subject us to roller-coaster gyrations, blasts of bubbles, repeated swings through serpentine tunnels, intense light rays, and a series of chemical baths. All of this activity takes place below ground level and out of view of treatment staff. All of the systems are auto- mated and monitored by computer in a second-story control room. The plant employs two processes to eradicate pathogens like giardia: ozone and ultraviolet light. In massive stainless steel chambers, oxygen gas is zapped with electric current. That process creates ozone, which consists of molecules containing three atoms of oxygen. The gas is piped below the water channels and then released through ceramic

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