Issue at Abington/ Rockland water treatment plant leads to conservation request

Abington residents are being asked to conserve water until the joint water works understands why its reserve tank is dropping.

Joe LaPointe, superintendent of the Abington/Rockland Joint Water Works says his team is trying to figure out if demand is currently outstripping supply, or if there is a system leak that hasn’t surfaced yet.

“We’re having problems keeping up with demand,” LaPointe said in an interview Thursday afternoon with the Abington News. “We can only push out so much water at a time.”

The water works typically operates three treatment plants: Sandy Bottom Pond in Pembroke, the Hannigan treatment plant in Rockland, and the Meyers Avenue plant in Abington. The Meyers Avenue plant, which is the smallest of the three, has been offline for a few weeks for a planned refurbishment, according to LaPointe.

Normally, the system treats and processes more water than is needed by Abington and Rockland residents and business – even with the Meyers Avenue plant offline. Excess water is pumped into an underground reserve tank that serves the system while the plants are offline for the night.

However, over the past couple days, system demand has outstripped supply, with levels dropping in the reserve tank.

LaPointe said it could be simply increased demand as the weather has turned warmer, remote learning has ended, pools are being filled, and gardens watered.

But there could also be an undetected leak in the system. He said a firm that specializes in detecting leaks is coming Friday to help the water works team identify the source.

LaPointe said the system’s reservoirs have plenty of water in them currently, even with the recent dry stretch.

In the meantime, the Joint Water Works is asking residents to hold off filling pools or watering lawns to ensure there’s enough water for more important needs.

“We know you’ve got to wash your hands because of COVID and everything else,” he said. “We’re just asking people to conserve as much as they can.”

The following is a message that went out to residents Thursday afternoon asking them to conserve water.

On behalf of hte Abington/Rockland Joint Water Works:

Please be advised that due to the water treatment plant not working properly, we are requesting that all residents conserve their use of water until further notice to help keep the demand on the water plant down.  You will be notified when the plant is back up and running at full capacity.

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