NEWS

Desalination plant expected to be completed by April 1

Vicki-Ann Downing

The Aquaria desalination plant, believed to be the first of its kind in the northeastern United States, is nearing completion on the banks of the Taunton River in North Dighton, just south of Taunton.

A 16-mile pipeline linking the plant to Brockton is largely complete and should be finished in late March, depending on the weather. Work is continuing on King Phillip Street in Raynham and in the Weir section of Taunton.

The plant itself is 80 percent complete and could be ready to begin pumping by April 1, said Alfredo Andres, general manager for Aquaria.

The city of Brockton has 90 days from the plant's completion to begin paying the amount due under its contract and to decide how much water it will buy to supplement its main water source, the Silver Lake reservoir in Kingston.

Under a contract signed in May 2002, Brockton can buy up to 1.9 million gallons of desalinated water a day in the first year. The amount rises each year to a total of 4.07 million gallons for years 11 through 20.

Water conservation measures and plenty of rainfall have combined to eliminate the water shortages that stifled development in Brockton for many years. The city's last water shortage was short-lived, in April 2006.

Today, according to Water Systems Manager Brian M. Creedon, Brockton draws 8.8 million gallons of water per day from Silver Lake and another 600,000 gallons daily from the Brockton Reservoir in D.W. Field Park.

The Aquaria project is both a safeguard against future water shortages and a guarantee of water for future development, Creedon said.

The plant is a joint venture of Inima USA Corp. and Bluestone Energy Services.

So far, Brockton is Aquaria's only paying customer, although the company will seek others. The plant has the capacity to produce 5 million gallons per day, or 10 million when fully expanded.

Vicki-Ann Downing can be reached at vdowning@enterprisenews.com.

The Enterprise