History of the Groton Water Department

The Groton Water Company

The Groton Water Company was established on May 5, 1897 through an act of the Massachusetts General Court “for the purpose of supplying the town of Groton and its inhabitants with water for the extinguishment of fires and for domestic, manufacturing and all other purposes.”

From the beginning, a mechanism was put in place for the water company to one day be purchased by the Town of Groton upon a two-thirds majority vote by Town Meeting, and thereafter to be governed on the town’s behalf by a three-member board of water commissioners. In this way, our illustrious 1897 founders were 85 years ahead of their time.

Our Illustrious 1897 Founders:

  • George S. Boutwell,
  • Milo H. Shattuck,
  • Henry W. Whiting,
  • William A. Lawrence,
  • Michael Sheedy Jr.,
  • James Lawrence,
  • F. Lawrence Blood,
  • John Lawrence,
  • Charles H. Dodge,
  • John G. Park,
  • William B. Warren,
  • William A. Moore,
  • Grafton D. Gushing,
  • Frank F, Woods,
  • John H. Bobbins,
  • Henry K. Richards, and
  • William P. Lawrence

Acts of 1897, Chapter 338

Download (PDF, 523KB)

Baddacook Well

The Groton Water Company started with one well on the shores of Baddacook Pond, eight miles of water main, 80 water service connections and an 800,000-gallon water storage reservoir on the top of Gibbet Hill.

The well was described in 1897 by its surveyor, H.C. Hovey, as follows:

The source of supply is from a well 30 feet in diameter (inside) and about 16 feet deep below the surface of the surrounding ground and 19-1/2 feet below the finished top masonry wall. The bottom of the well is 10 feet below the surface of the pond, at medium heights of water in the pond. The centre of the well is about 50 feet from the high-water line on the shore of the pond, and has no connection by a pipe or other way with the pond; and I have never supposed that direct connection was contemplated, as the capacity of the well, as indicated by continuous pumping during construction, and measured by me at that time (by request of Mr. [Charles A.] Allen, chief engineer), was 41,000 gallons per hour.

The Baddacook pumping station was built in 1897 by Groton native Charles H. Dodge, the master-builder who had in 1892 constructed the Groton Public Library, and who would later become innkeeper at the Groton Inn from 1906 to 1921.

A year-long analysis of water quality by the State Board of Health in 1898 confirmed that the Baddacook Well water was “soft, practically colorless, and in other respects of excellent quality.”

The Groton Water Department

The company was formally acquired by the Town of Groton by approval of Town Meeting in 1982, and ever since has operated as the Groton Water Department.

In November 2005, construction began on the Baddacook Pond Water Treatment Plant. The construction involved putting an 800 square-foot addition onto the existing Baddacook Pump House building. The addition houses two filtration vessels and other equipment necessary to remove naturally-occurring iron and manganese from Baddacook well water, improving the overall quality. This project also included new SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) controls to help the Department better monitor changing water quality and demands.

Drawing of Baddacook Pump House and Treatment Plant Addition
Drawing of Baddacook Pump House
and Treatment Plant Addition
Green Sand Filtration Vessels
Green Sand Filtration Vessels

Today, the Groton Water Department is responsible for the management and maintenance of Town of Groton’s drinking water resources and the distribution system utilized to convey this resource to residents and businesses throughout the town.