Water Company News

GRANDIN WATER DISTRICT INFORMATION (from the 20 July Grandin Water District open meeting). [edited to clarify the difference between private and public utility reporting].

The commissioners were obviously engaged and invested and I am grateful for their work.  

My notes are arranged into three topics: 

Ownership & Transfer, 


Meetings & Contacts.

Please feel free to share. 


The Grandin Water District is a legal entity that DOESN’T OWN ANYTHING YET. In other words, the East Northfield Water Company is still the one responsible for all facets of your water supply if you are on the system- still the one to contact if something goes wrong, still the one to send payment to. 

The contents of the East Northfield Water company — the reservoir, pipes, pumphouse, and all items necessary for the distribution of water– will be transferred to the Grandin Water District as soon as physical and legal inspections are approved by the state. (note: The East Northfield Water Company is a private entity that reports to the Department of Public Health. The Grandin Water District is a public entity and will report to the Department of Environmental Protection). The council thinks that the transfer will happen within 2023.

In order to approve the transfer agreement, the state must be convinced of two things:

A.The MA DEP must certify the water distribution system as able to operate and 

B. Both the MA DEP and the Department of Revenue must be assured that Grandin Water District will be able to run the business and will not immediately fold (i.e. they have sufficient money to keep it running). 

Any further water safety violations by E.Northfield Water before the transfer will slow down the process because it will trigger EPA involvement.


The Grandin Water district is using $25,000 given by the town of Northfield (from ARPA funds) to prepare for the transfer.  So far, $7000 in legal fees have been spent.

There is also an agreement for a loan of $30,000 from Thomas Aquinas College (borrowed against future campus water bills) to pay for items necessary for the transfer, such as Tighe & Bond Engineering -whose contract for around $18,000 is about to be signed.

Note that there will need to be repairs and renovations done after the transfer of the property, and the East Northfield Water Company will be transferring some funds for that purpose as well. Work mentioned was: water main replacements, new filtration systems, and an office building in place of the storage building/old pump house currently on site, plus future upgrades, like digital water meters and changes based on new DEP standards. 

In addition to the money transferred from E Northfield Water Company, water customers are a source of funds for the water district to pay for the coming work. Grants are actively being sought. (Remember that the ability to procure grants was the primary reason for the formation of the Grandin Water District in the first place). RCAP solutions (a company with a representative at the meeting) seems to be spearheading the grant procurement. Their representative mentioned several competitive grants and discussed submission deadlines. 

Grant funding seems to come in two types: 1. planning and design grants and 2. Construction grants and loans. The planning representative noted that Engineering drawings from Tighe and Bond  would amplify the grant applications. When asked how citizens could help, he stated that “substantive” letters from citizens would be useful. (note that I think citizen involvement will make an important point too- so an abundance of non-technical letters might also be useful.)


The Grandin water district is a municipal entity, legally independent of the town of Northfield, and subject to open meeting law. They have been having meetings approximately every 2-4 weeks since January 2023, either at Dickinson Library or in a building on the Thomas Aquinas campus. 

The website is grandinwaterdistrict.org, and the governing body consists of 3 commissioners:

1. A member appointed by the Northfield Select Board for a term of 2 years. This is currently Alex Strysky (astrysky@grandinwaterdistrict.org). His term ends in Spring 2024.

2. A member (who must live in the water district) elected by Northfield citizens for a term of 3 years. This is currently Peter Weis (pweis@grandinwaterdistrict.org). His term ends spring 2026.

3. A member appointed by the largest water customer for an unlimited term. The largest customer is currently Thomas Aquinas College, and their current appointee is Tim Cosgrove (tcosgrove@grandinwaterdistrict.org)

When the Grandin Water District owns the water company, it will be paying the town to do their billing via a line item in their budget called “indirect cost”, so water bills will come from the town.