SECTION 1. The town of Nantucket may supply itself and the inhabitants thereof with water for the extinguishment of fires and for domestic and for other purposes, may establish fountains and hydrants, relocate or discontinue the same, and may regulate the use of such water and fix and collect rates to be paid for the use of same.
SECTION 2. The said town, for the purposes aforesaid, is hereby authorized to acquire by purchase or take by eminent domain under chapter 79 of the General Laws the entire water rights, estates, franchises and privileges of any corporation supplying water to its inhabitants and thereby become entitled to all its rights and privileges and subject to all its duties and liabilities; and may lease, or take by eminent domain under said chapter seventy-nine, or acquire by purchase or otherwise, and hold, the waters, or any portion thereof, of any pond, brook, spring, stream or any ground water sources within its limits, not already appropriated for purposes of public water supply, and any water or flowage rights connected therewith; provided, that the amount of water which may be taken shall from time to time be determined by vote of the town; and also may take by eminent domain under said chapter 79, or acquire by purchase or otherwise, and hold, all lands, rights of way and other easements necessary for collecting, storing, holding, purifying and treating such water and protecting and preserving the purity thereof and for conveying the same to any part of said town; provided, that no source of water supply and no lands necessary for protecting and preserving the purity and quality of the water shall be taken or used without first obtaining the advice and approval of the department of environmental protection, and that the location and arrangement of all dams, reservoirs, wells or filter galleries, filtration and pumping plants or other works necessary in carrying out the provisions of this act shall be subject to the approval of said department. Said town may construct, erect and maintain on the lands acquired and held under the provisions of this act proper dams, reservoirs, pumping and filtration plants, buildings, standpipes, tanks, fixtures and other structures, including also purification and treatment works, the construction and maintenance of which shall be subject to the approval of the department of environmental protection, and may make excavations, procure and operate machinery, and provide such other means and appliances and do such other things as may be necessary for the establishment and maintenance of complete and effective water works; and for that purpose may construct wells and reservoirs, establish pumping works and lay down and maintain aqueducts, conduits, pipes and other works, under or over any lands, water courses, railroads, railways and public or other ways and along any such way in said town in such manner as not unnecessarily to obstruct the same; and for the purpose of constructing, laying, maintaining, operating and repairing such conduits, pipes and other works, and for all other proper purposes of this act, said town may dig up or raise and embank any such lands, highways or other ways in such manner as to cause the least hindrance to public travel thereon. Said town shall not enter upon, construct or lay any conduits, pipes or other works within the location of any railroad corporation except at such time and in such manner as it may agree upon with such corporation or in case of failure so to agree as may be approved by the department of telecommunications and energy. Said town may enter upon any lands for the purpose of making surveys, test pits and borings, and may take or otherwise acquire the right to occupy temporarily any lands necessary for the construction of any work or for any other purpose authorized by this act.
SECTION 3. The land, water rights and other property taken or acquired under this act, and all works, buildings and other structures erected or constructed under this act, shall be managed, improved and controlled by the board of water commissioners hereinafter provided for in section 8, in such manner as it shall deem for the best interest of the town.
SECTION 4. Any person or corporation injured in his or its property by any action of said town or board under this act may recover damages from said town under said chapter 79; provided, that the right to damages for the taking of any water, water right, or any injury thereto, shall not vest until the water is actually withdrawn or diverted by said town under authority of this act.
SECTION 5. Said town may, for the purpose of paying the necessary expenses and liabilities incurred or to be incurred under the provisions of this act, issue from time to time bonds or notes in accordance with the provisions of section 8 of chapter 44 of the General Laws.
SECTION 6. Said town shall, at the time of authorizing said loan or loans, provide for the payment thereof in accordance with the provisions of section 5; and when a vote to that effect has been passed, a sum which, with the income derived from the water rates, will be sufficient to pay the annual expense of operating the water works, and the interest as it accrues on the bonds or notes issued as aforesaid, and to make such payments on the principal as may be required under the provisions of this act, shall without further vote be assessed by the town annually thereafter in the same manner as other taxes, until the debt incurred by the said loan or loans is extinguished.
SECTION 7. Whoever willfully or wantonly corrupts, pollutes or diverts any of the waters taken or held under this act, or injures any structure, work or other property owned, held or used by said town under the authority and for the purposes of this act, shall forfeit and pay to said town three times the amount of damages assessed therefore, to be recovered in an action of tort; and upon conviction of any one of the above willful or wanton acts shall be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
SECTION 8. All water operations of said town shall be consolidated in department of the town to be known as the water department. All the authority granted to the town by this act, except sections 5 and 6, and not otherwise specially provided for, shall be vested in a five-member board of water commissioners, hereinafter known as the “board”. The board shall have exclusive charge and control of the water department and water system of the town, subject however to all lawful by-laws and to such instructions, rules and regulations as said town may impose by its vote. A majority of said board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Any vacancy occurring in said board shall be filled at the next annual town election for the remainder of the unexpired term and may be filled temporarily by the board of selectmen until the next annual election, in accordance with the charter of the town of Nantucket as it may be amended from time to time. Said commissioners shall serve for three-year overlapping terms, so arranged that the terms of not more than two commissioners shall expire each year.
SECTION 9. Said board shall fix just and equitable prices and rates for the use of water, and shall prescribe the time and manner of payment of such prices and rates. The income of the water works shall be applied to defraying all operating expenses, interest charges and payments on the principal as they accrue upon any bonds or notes issued under authority of this act. During any period that the water department is not operated under an enterprise fund system of accounting pursuant to section 53F1/2 of chapter 44 of the General Laws, if there should be a net surplus remaining after providing for the aforesaid charges it shall, subject to appropriation by the town, be used for such new construction as the water commissioners may recommend or be reserved by the town for future new construction, and in case a surplus should remain after appropriation or reservation for such new construction, and/or in the event such surplus is not so appropriated and reserved, the water rates shall be reduced proportionately. All authority vested in said board by the foregoing provisions of this section shall be subject to the provisions of section 8 with respect to the town’s authority to adopt appropriate bylaws, rules, instructions regulations. Said board shall annually, and as often as the town may require, render a report upon the condition of the works under its charge and an account of its doings, including an account of receipts and expenditures.
SECTION 10. The town of Nantucket shall be the lawful successor of the Siasconset water district and the former Wannacomet Water Company, so-called, in every respect. All property, both real and personal, including funds, records, furnishings and equipment whatsoever in the custody of said department and company shall be transferred by operation of law to the town, and no contracts or liabilities of the Siasconset water district or former Wannacomet Water Company in force on the effective date of this act shall be affected by the dissolution and abolition of the said district or company, except as provided in section 16, below.
SECTION 11. The incumbent general manager of the Wannacomet Water Company, so-called, holding office as of the effective date of this act shall serve as the director of the consolidated water department until the natural expiration of his current appointment, or his sooner resignation, retirement or removal.
SECTION 12. Upon the effective date of this act, the so-called Siasconset water district, created pursuant to chapter 404 of the acts of 1903, as amended, is hereby dissolved, the board of water commissioners created pursuant to said chapter 404 is abolished, and the terms of any incumbent members of said board of water commissioners terminated.
SECTION 13. The enterprise funds previously established by vote of the town pursuant to section 53F1/2 of chapter 44 of the General Laws and referred to as the Siasconset Water Enterprise Fund and the Wannacomet Water Enterprise Fund, to the extent they are in existence as of the effective date of this act, shall hereby be consolidated into a single enterprise fund to be known as the Nantucket Water Department Enterprise Fund, which consolidated fund shall be subject to said section 53F1/2 in every respect.
SECTION 14. Any properly-adopted rules and regulations of the boards of water commissioners created pursuant to chapter 404 of the acts of 1903 and chapter 476 of the acts of 1987, in effect upon the effective date of this act, shall remain in full force and effect until such time as they are amended or abolished by the board created under section 8 this act.
SECTION 15. Upon the effective date of this act, the then-applicable Memorandum of Agreement between the Nantucket Water Commission and the Siasconset Water shall be rendered void, and the parties are relieved of their obligations under said Memorandum of Agreement, except to the extent that any payments are outstanding for services rendered prior to the effective date of this act.
SECTION 16. All personnel of the water department created under the section 8 of this act are town employees, and shall be appointed by the board created under said section 8, in accordance with and subject to the requirements of sections 4.5-4.9 of the town charter, chapter 289 of the acts of 1996 as it may be amended from time to time. Such employees shall be subject to any applicable by-laws, and personnel policies and procedures of the town, unless and only to the extent that such by-laws and personnel policies and procedures have been amended by any valid collective bargaining agreement, where applicable. Nothing herein shall be construed to alter or amend the employment status of any existing water department employees, employed as of the effective date of this act, except as provided in section 12, above.
SECTION 17. As of the effective date of this act, the members of the board of water commissioners created by the provisions of chapter 404 of the acts of 1903 and chapter 476 of the acts of 1987, previously known as the Nantucket Water Commissioners, shall become the first members of the five-member board of water commissioners created under section 8 of this act. Such commissioners shall serve for the remainder of their elected terms or their sooner vacating of office. Thereafter, such offices shall be filled in accordance with said section 8. Two additional commissioners shall be elected at the first annual town election occurring no less than 64 days after the passage of this act, one for a 2-year term and one for a 3-year term. If the 2 additional positions would remain vacant for more than 4 months, the board of selectmen may, in its discretion, make temporary appointments to fill the vacancies until the annual election at which the offices may legally appear on the ballot. Thereafter, all elections and temporary appointments to the board shall be made in accordance with said section 8.
SECTION 18. Chapter 307 of the acts of 1925, chapter 436 of the acts of 1963, and chapter 476 of the acts of 1987 are hereby repealed.
SECTION 19. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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