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MGHRS said to have OK to tap water from Sweetwood well; school well OK, too, state will provide funds


POSTED by Bill Densmore on  Sunday, July 17, 2005


Percholorate contamination of tap water at Mount Greylock Regional High School will apparently be cleared up in the fall, thanks to Northern Berkshire Health Systems (NBHS).


“It looks like we can tentatively make an arrangement with them where they will install a line from their wells to the school,” says Andrew Hogeland, member of a school-committee task force charged with solving the water problem.   NBHS owns the Sweetwood continuing-care facility which abuts the high school..  Under the tentative agreement arranged by School Committee Chairman Robert Petricca, a state grant of $286,000 would finance the water-line installation, Hogeland said Sunday night.  


Hogeland said an “agreement in principle” existed between the school and NBHS, which also owns North Adams Regional Hospital. He said he thought the line could be installed during the fall. He said he understood a school-committee meeting will be arranged within the next few weeks to confirm the arrangements.


Neither Petricca nor a spokesman for NBHS could be reached for contact on Sunday night.


In addition, said Hogeland, if any snag crops up with the NBHS tie-in, tests financed by the state grant have found that a well on school property about 1,000 feet west of the building show that well has sufficient capacity to supply the school’s needs. That well was originally drilled as a test by the Clark Art Institute when the museum was considering underwriting construction of a new building on Sweetwood-owned property next to the school for the Northeast Regional Art Conservation Center.


“There as sufficient water to satisfy all the schools needs” in the so-called Clark No. 2 well, said Hogeland.  The school is proceeding to obtain a permit to use the well, as a backup to the NBHS tie-in, he added.  He said the positive tests of the well, to be reimbursed with state grant funds, were conducted by engineer Vince Guntlow.  "But as between the two we are learning toward Northern Berkshire because it is a bigger proven source and we can probably get it in faster,” he said. Hogeland added it is understood that NBHS will charge  a feel for the school to use the water but the exact terms of the fee have not been arranged.


Serving with Hogeland on the school committee-appointed water task force are Williams College Professor David Dethier, and retired town employee Edward Rondeau. 


The task force was established after a Dec. 2 town meeting vote which rejected a proposed bond issue to run a water line on Cold Spring Road to supply water to the school.