Bernardston Hearth and Water District receives the MassDEP Power Conservation Award – The Recorder

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Published: 02/03/2021 02:44:55 PM

BERNARDSTON – The Bernardston Fire and Water District was one of four urban water supplies across the state to receive an Energy Conservation Award from the State Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) last week.

In particular, Bernardston was recognized for installing a floor-mounted solar photovoltaic system in the Pratt Field Wellhead Area and for installing a soft start and frequency converter at the Sugar House pumping station. As a result, the district achieved net-zero energy status by reducing electricity needs and generating more than 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year to power the water pumps and associated equipment.

Bernardston Fire and Water District member and former chairman Bill Pachalis said the district is happy to be recognized for the work of its members on the project. The system was installed about a year and a half ago and is now operational.

“We were able to carry out the project with the help of a grant from MassDEP. Now it's fully online and we're starting to get energy loans, ”Pachalis explained. “If the field is paid for over time, it provides all of the electricity needed for our pump houses, the office building – pretty much everything for the water district – and then any excess.”

He said the Bernardston Fire and Water District is considering “donating” any surplus to City Hall, the Bernardston Fire Department, or some other municipal facility.

Across the state, 91 public water systems received various awards. According to a press release from MassDEP, criteria for the awards include “excellent water service to the public; no violations or violations; and efforts to support public water supplies such as spring water protection, water quality and conservation. ”

MassDEP works with drinking water suppliers to ensure that the water supplied to consumers meets all federal and state standards and is clean and abundant. For more than 30 years, MassDEP has been awarding exemplary systems during the National Drinking Water Week in May that have rendered a meritorious service in the past calendar year. However, this year's public ceremony took place virtually and by mail in December due to restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Baker Polito Administration is pleased to recognize committed and exceptional drinking water providers who work together to ensure that residents have access to safe, clean and healthy drinking water,” said Minister for Energy and the Environment, Kathleen Theoharides, in the press release . “Your efforts in daily monitoring, auditing, adjusting, and working with others in the fields of public health and environmental protection have shown a high level of commitment to the safety and health of Massachusetts residents, and we thank them for their continued hard work and.” their commitment. “

“MassDEP recognizes that public water systems have faced major challenges in the past year under pandemic conditions. However, these extraordinary systems have proven to be steadfast in providing their residents with continuous and constant clean and safe drinking water,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg in the press release. “There are many public water systems that do a great job and each year we find and improve systems that deserve special recognition and recognition.”

For more information on water supplies across the state, visit

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.


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