The Bristol County Water Authority has been working under the assumption that East Providence officials are well aware of its plan to build a pipeline through the city to Pawtucket as a second source of water.
Except for officials in the water utilities division in East Providence, that does not appear to be the case. And the water authority needs the support of East Providence to make that pipeline a reality.
“There is no assurance from East Providence that it will support this,” said BCWA Executive Director Pamela Marchand.
Even though the city’s share of cash for the project would come from ratepayers, not the city budget, she said, the city still owns the land and its governs the water utilities division, which is part of the public works department.
BCWA would also need East Providence’s okay to build a second underground mixing station near an emergency water station at the Silver Spring Golf Course off of Pawtucket Avenue.
Lack of support for the project could doom it, agreed Marchand, even though she said the pipeline could help East Providence solve some of it own water problems – such as aging pipelines from Providence for Scituate Reservoir water.
The lack of awareness about the project, she said, apparently stems from the fact that no one has ever made a formal presentation to the E.P. city council seeking support of the pipeline. No one from East Providence, in fact, attended a meeting outlining the project for Barrington, Warren and Bristol town councilors hosted by the BCWA several weeks ago.
Awareness of the project appears to have stopped with the city manager, she said.
“And, as you probably know, East Providence dismissed its city manager recently,” Marchand told the board.
The lack of awareness of the pipeline project by East Providence officials came to light at the Warren Town Council meeting on Tuesday evening, Nov. 12, during a report by two of the town’s representatives on the board. It dominated conversation of the pipeline project at a special meeting of the BCWA board on Wednesday night, Nov. 13.
It definitely seems like East Providence is out of the loop, said Bill Gosselin and Ray Palmieri of Warren.
“We can fix that,” said BCWA Board Chairman Allan Klepper of Barrington. “We can take steps to do that.”
Klepper said he plans to contact the head of the East Providence City Council, Mayor James Briden, to brief him on the project and get city officials in the loop.