Thank You for Your Service – In Appreciation of Walter Woods

Fred Walter
Mr. Woods (l) with Mr. Laskey, MWRA Executive Director

Three months away from his 99th birthday, Walter Woods is retiring from the Advisory Board as the Wellesley representative. Walter has been an integral part of the Advisory Board from day one.

In fact, before day one, he served on the pre-Advisory Board Formation Committee to develop our by-laws, hire staff, and help with other endeavors. Over the next 32 years, Walter served as a member of our Executive Committee, holding at times the offices of Secretary, Chairman of Operations, and Chair of the Advisory Board.

While already impressive, this represents only a fraction of Walter’s career. He is an engineering graduate of MIT, worked as a structural engineer at NASA, designed jet fighters for Republic Aircraft, and served as Chief Mechanical and Engineering Officer for the MBTA. Furthermore, he was elected to the Wellesley Board of Public Works and served over 15 years, including four as Chairman.

Walter Lou (2)
Mr. Woods with Mr. Taverna, current AB Chairman

In his “spare” time, Walter makes wine. Not only is this wine delicious, but it has also been awarded gold medals in numerous competitions. He is an avid gardener, and many have benefited from his expert tips.

MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey stated at our meeting, “Walter is a true gentleman and a dedicated public servant. Over the years, his sharp intellect and common sense approach have greatly contributed to the success of the MWRA Advisory Board, and in doing so, the success of the MWRA.”

AB Chairman Lou Taverna noted, “Walter has served with distinction and diligence. Our successes today are routed in the commitment of members such as Walter. He is irreplaceable.”

Thank you, Walter, for all that you have contributed.

Shaping MWRA Projects and Initiatives – Giving Communities a Voice

The role of the Advisory Board is to provide feedback on MWRA projects and initiatives. At the January 19 meeting in Canton, the AB weighed in on two such undertakings.

The first was the MWRA’s emerging plans for system-wide water redundancy. Having participated in a half-day information session on redundancy in December, AB members unanimously voted to support an emerging MWRA plan to insure water system redundancy to the metropolitan area.

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Community members at the metropolitan redundancy workshop

AB members included five conditions to their recommendation:

1. Use a Program Management Division (PMD) approach, similar to the Boston Harbor Project

2. Select deep rock tunnel versus surface piping alternative

3. Support the MWRA’s recommendation for two tunnels, north and south

4. Recommend that MWRA construct both tunnels concurrently, rather than in a phased manner

5. Pursue strategies that dedicate revenue from non-typical, or one-time water users sources (e.g. drought connections) to help fund the Metropolitan Tunnel Redundancy

The MWRA Board of Directors will take up their discussion on redundancy as we move forward in the spring. The Advisory Board looks forward to participating with the Board and MWRA staff in shaping this critical project.

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Smoke testing

AB members also weighed in on expanding eligible projects under the Local Community I/I Grant/Loan Program. This community-initiated discussion was first presented at our Operations Committee meeting in November. Eligible projects now include:

  • Permanent flow monitoring equipment
  • Sewer inspection equipment
  • Building inspections, smoke testing, dye testing
  • Administrative tasks related to planning/development of procedures and public outreach
  • Database development and mapping of connections to public utilities

This expansion will provide communities more tools to upgrade their local sewer systems.

Your voice can make a difference. Please attend AB Operations and regular meetings. There are also seats available on our Executive Committee. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative

In addition to MWRA’s Lead Loan Program, the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Collaborative is an excellent resource for communities as they continue to rehabilitate critical water infrastructure. The site contains resources pertaining to all steps of the process:

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  • A roadmap to build consensus with community stakeholders and to develop a plan for implementation
  • Tools for replacement practices, from highly technical descriptions to broader, more accessible language useful for outreach
  • Descriptions of policies
  • References to community case studies

The Collaborative was created to expedite voluntary LSLR in communities to keep lead out of drinking water and is composed of numerous national organizations. With topics as important as drinking water safety, the Advisory Board will to continue to equip our communities with the best tools available. Stay tuned for more updates!