NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 11, 2013

Rumored problem with PI water system to be aired Wednesday

Plum Island will be in the news again this week when Mayor Donna Holaday heads an information session on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the vulnerable water system on the island.

Rumors have circulated for months that there is something structurally amiss with the water system, built at a cost of $22.9 million about a half-dozen years ago.

And it became more than rumor when Tracy Blais, town administrator in Newbury, stated that there were failures in the system.

But few details have been made public.

Most of the island’s 1,200 residences are in Newbury, but the city of Newburyport administers the water and sewer system. So the ball is in Holaday’s court.

State officials are expected to be at the meeting, and will likely add gravitas to the conclusions reached by engineers employed by the city and private industry.

If there is a major problem that needs to be addressed, ratepayers of both communities — and not just those on Plum Island — will be on the hook for the expense.

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This might be the wrong time to bring it up, but Your Scribe makes this suggestion: Can some of the “No Parking” signs be taken down near the PI beaches this summer?

In recent weeks, local, state and federal workers have expended enormous effort to preserve private residences on the island.

But each summer, it seems that more “No Parking” signs go up near the beaches.

The order not to park and the threat of towing are not a welcome message for visitors. Beyond that, the amount of taxpayer money being expended on the island seems to make the case that that visitors should be able to park along public streets so they can walk to the beaches.

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On the subject of municipal employees, it appears that working in city government has become very attractive.

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