By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – As the season transitions from fall into winter, Shrewsbury’s new Water & Sewer Superintendent Daniel Rowley has been busy implementing a unidirectional flushing program to combat persistent manganese by systematically opening hydrants to “flush” and scour the interior of the pipes to remove sediment.
Rowley has been on the job since Sept. 6 and has had time to assess the town’s water system and develop a vision for the Water & Sewer Division contained within the recently formed Department of Public Works. Key components of his vision include utilizing technology, being proactive rather than reactive, and communication.
“The water system has challenges and I think our customer confidence is low,” Rowley said. “We’ve done some great things over the years, such as the new treatment plant but my vision is to bring it to a whole new level – to invest in the infrastructure for example with unidirectional flushing. That’s a program we should be doing ideally once a year in the best case scenario. We haven’t had a formal flushing program for many years…I think that has impacted our water quality.”
Rowley added that they will use technology out in the field to better track data for a more complete picture of the status and condition of the infrastructure. This will allow them to be more proactive and get ahead of a potential situation and maintain the system to the best possible standards. He noted that this is how he hopes to regain customer confidence.
PFAS (Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and Hexavalent Chromium that have been detected in Shrewsbury’s waters but Rowley has said that they are within acceptable levels.
“We are going to monitor both the hex chrome and the PFAS on a quarterly basis, send out updates so folks know that they can have confidence that we are monitoring and that we are paying attention and trying to get the messages out to them,” Rowley said.
He also said that he personally manages the Water & Sewer Division page on the town website and updates it on a frequent basis.
Prior to his current position, Rowley was the Highway and Grounds superintendent in Concord. Upon hearing that former Water & Sewer Superintendent Robert Tozeski was retiring, Rowley was intrigued because the Department of Public Works was new and he wanted to be a part of shaping its direction.
He isn’t new to Shrewsbury, however, having served for several years as a foreman for the Parks & Cemetery and Highway departments.
“I’ve worked hard since I’ve been here, spent a lot of time developing maps [of the infrastructure], pushing out a lot of clear notifications out to people so hopefully they will have confidence that if something is going to disrupt the [water] system we are going to be ahead of it the best way that we can,” he stated.
“With Bob Tozeski retiring it was a really good opportunity to bring in some good experience … and to be a part of history,” Rowley said. “I think we are in decent shape but I think we have a lot of ways we can improve.”
For more information, visit www.shrewsburyma.gov/287/Water-Sewer-Division.