Norton Water Dispenser

Norton previously offered drinking water at no charge to residents from a dispensing machine outside town hall. A new water treatment plant has been put into operation, but dirty water complaints persist.

NORTON — The town’s controversial water system has some more skilled help coming its way.

The newest water/sewer commissioner is Scott Ollerhead, who has been an environmental engineer for the past 15 years and has served on the conservation commission since 2012.

Ollerhead, of Tipping Place, was unanimously appointed at a joint meeting of selectmen and water/sewer commissioners last week.

“I have gained a great deal of technical knowledge in areas that would be relevant,” Ollerhead said, adding he brings expertise in state and federal drinking water standards and testing methods.

Ollerhead also pointed out he has worked on smaller scale groundwater pump and treatment systems and feels that experience will prove valuable in regards to a multi-million dollar water treatment plant underway.

In addition, he cited strong communication skills — something selectmen have felt has been lacking from the commission, as part of his job of interpreting groundwater and soil data for public construction projects.

“I feel those skills will help me to assist the current commission as they work to keep the people of Norton well informed with water and sewer related issues,” Ollerhead said.

On the three-member commission, Ollerhead replaces Thomas Weir, who resigned June 1 to relocate.

The term expires at the April annual town election.

The other two commissioners are Luther Grant and Steven Bishop.

The water/sewer commission has been more important and in the spotlight in recent years as water quality issues have ballooned.

Selectmen have battled with the commission, unsuccessfully trying to get town meeting voters to turn the commission into an appointed body instead of elected to bring more town government oversight and accountability.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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