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This project is a wonderful example of how a local public government can work successfully with a private entity to accomplish each of their respective and sometimes conflicting objectives. The Town of Foxborough demonstrated that it was able to mobilize a planning, design and construction team very quickly; secure funding and permitting approvals; meet the water demand needs of the Patriots; and was successful in implementing, jointly with the Patriots, an innovative water reuse infrastructure project. The New England Patriots were able to gain an improved and reliable water source to meet their increased demands and to satisfy their very strict scheduling and financial constraints, while implementing water reuse within the new stadium - all for the same cost as their original increased water demand proposal.

After many years of exploring sites for a new National Football League (NFL) stadium, in 1999 the New England Patriots decided to stay in Foxborough, Massachusetts and build a new stadium, which opened for its first major event, a New England Revolution professional soccer game, on May 11, 2002. The new stadium will dramatically increase the seating, food concession and sanitary facilities as compared to the old Foxboro Stadium.

The new stadium, “cmgi field”, when it is fully developed with a seating capacity of 68,000 and the future addition of a hotel, restaurant, theater, and retail space, is projected to use almost twice as much water as the current Foxboro Stadium. Due to professional soccer, summer concerts, and pre-season football games, the peak water use for the stadium coincides with the peak summer demand on the Town of Foxborough's potable water system, creating a conflict with the Town's ability to provide sufficient instantaneous water supply during major stadium events.

In order for the Town to be able to commit to providing the additional volume of water and the instantaneous high flow rates needed by the new stadium, major improvements to the public water distribution system were required to create a new water pressure zone in the area of the stadium and by implementing aggressive water conservation practices. The Town took the position that it was prepared to implement millions of dollars of improvements to its potable water system, provided the Patriots agreed to: 1) implement a water reuse program to lessen the demand for additional potable water and minimize the disruption to the public water system caused by instantaneous high flow rates; and 2) provide an option for the Town to take over and expand the Patriots wastewater treatment plant, should the Town elect to develop a wastewater collection and treatment program in that area of Town. The objective of the arrangement was to keep the project “cost neutral” to the Patriots so that their share of the new project was no greater than it was without the Town's proposal. This was required in order for the stadium project to maintain both its public and private financing commitments.

In May 1999, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued the “Reclaimed Water Use – Interim Guidance”, which provided for reuse of treated wastewater for such purposes as landscaping, irrigation and toilet flushing. To date, only two significant public water reuse projects have been proposed in the state, both involving only golf course irrigation. This is the first major project under the new Guidelines to use treated wastewater for toilet and urinal flushing and is projected to recycle as much as 70 percent of the water use at the stadium. There were a few reuse projects in Massachusetts that predated the new Guidelines, such as the cooling water recycling project at EMC Corporation in Hopkinton and the Wrentham Mall water reuse project in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

In order for the Town to fulfill its part of the agreement, it needed to have preliminary engineering performed in time for a Special Town Meeting in April of 2000, only 4 months after the concept was first proposed by the Town. While negotiations continued on a final agreement between the Patriots and the Town, the Town authorized Earth Tech to undertake the engineering and preparation of cost estimates needed to secure approval and funding from town meeting. In April of 2000, the Town appropriated 6.7 million towards design and construction of water supply and water reuse infrastructure improvements, plus another 0.7 million for the preparation of a Town-Wide Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan that includes the exploration of options for providing a sewer system for the undevelopable commercial and industrial properties located along Route 1, near the new stadium.

The arrangement called for the Patriots to design and build a wastewater treatment system capable of discharging effluent meeting reuse quality water; a 1.0 million gallon potable water storage tank; and all on-site reuse piping, including the “purple pipe” within the stadium. The Town was responsible for designing and constructing the potable water transmission mains; a water booster pumping station; and a 0.5 million-gallon reuse water storage tank.

As of the writing of this paper in May of 2002, construction of the stadium has been virtually completed and, on May 11, 2002, the New England Revolution played (and won) its first home professional soccer game at the new stadium. Attendance at the “soft opening” was limited to 22,000 fans in order to test the facilities under less than full occupancy. All systems functioned as designed. By October 2002, the date of the WEFTEC 2002 conference, there will be several months of operating data on the treatment facility and water reuse system, which will be incorporated into the podium presentation.

This presentation will describe the negotiations and terms of the final agreement; summarize the various components of the wastewater, water reuse and water distribution system improvements; and present the cost arrangements and operational status of the project. All of the project's objectives and constraints were achieved.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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