Marchand retiring as head of BCWA

Hired in 2012, outgoing executive director oversaw biggest changes in BCWA's history

By Ted Hayes
Posted 10/1/20

Bristol County Water Authority Executive Director Pamela Marchand will retire when her current contract expires at the end of February.

Ms. Marchand, a Providence water supply engineer who was …

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Marchand retiring as head of BCWA

Hired in 2012, outgoing executive director oversaw biggest changes in BCWA's history

Posted

Bristol County Water Authority Executive Director Pamela Marchand will retire when her current contract expires at the end of February.

Ms. Marchand, a Providence water supply engineer who was hired by the authority in 2012, said Tuesday that she has no plans to accept another position elsewhere once her three-year term is up:

"Nope, I'm retiring for good," she said. "Moving to New Hampshire. I told the board of directors the last time I signed my contract (in 2018) that it would be the last one. It's been a long time coming."

During her tenure at the authority, Ms. Marchand oversaw some of the most significant changes in the utility's history. She helped orchestrate the move away from the authority's use of water supplies in southeastern Massachusetts and the Kickemuit River in favor of a new distribution model that when complete will see 100 percent of the region's water being purchased from Pawtucket and Providence. She also worked to modernize the authority's metering and computer systems, and oversaw the repair of a potential catastrophe, when the authority's East Bay Pipeline sprung a leak a year and a half ago.

Looking ahead, she sees completion of the new $37 million pipeline to the Pawtucket supply as the biggest hurdle for the next executive director. Progress has been slow, with reluctance from East Providence officials who so far have resisted contributing financially.

"The one that got away is getting that new secondary supply," she said. "That's going to be the big one for the next person to accomplish. The biggest problems will be getting East Providence on board and getting financing. It's going to be expensive."

The most unexpected problem she encountered was the leaky cross-bay pipeline, which sprung two leaks last April and was eventually repaired late last year at a cost of several million dollars. Looking back on her start at the authority 12 years ago, "that was one of the first things I asked about. I said, 'What happens if it" springs a leak?

The BCWA's board of directors is in charge of finding and hiring a replacement for the job, which currently pays $158,000 per year. The application deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 7, and about 15 resumes have come in so far.

Once the deadline passes, a personnel committee will sort through the resumes, conduct interviews and hire a replacement. Ms. Marchand said she believes a new hire will be in place a month or so before her departure, giving her the chance to spend time with the new director and bring him or her up to speed on the authority's long-term plans.

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