Central Hampshire Public Service District can look for a new water source, despite Romney’s protests, the state’s Public Service Commission ruled Friday.

Romney lodged a protest with the commission on Nov. 9 over CHPSD’s plan to look for a water supply. Just 10 days later — and on the same day CHPSD responded to the complaint — the commission denied Romney’s request.

“Interim relief is only proper where there is risk of immediate and irreparable injury,” the order noted.

In its complaint, and in a 541-word ad the town put in last week’s Review, Romney said that CHPSD’s search for another water source puts the town’s water system in financial peril. CHPSD buys its water from Romney under a 10-year contract signed in 2015.

Romney’s water budget relies on the sales to CHPSD; otherwise town residents would face much higher rates to sustain the water operation.

But, CHPSD General Manager James Hoffman, noted Friday, his utility has an obligation to find a secondary water source.

“Ever since Flint and what happened in Charleston we’ve been pushed by the County Commission to pursue a secondary water source,” he said, noting 2 high-profile cases of the last 5 years.

“We’re not trying to not buy water from Romney,” he said. “We have no intention at all of buying any less water from the town of Romney.”

That’s an assurance that Romney indicated in its ad last week that it needs.

“The Town of Romney is in no way opposed to additional water infrastructure in Hampshire County, but only seeks to ensure that CHPSD's obligations to the people of Romney are met,” the ad read in part.

Romney’s complaint was spurred by a County Commission decision to give CHPSD money from the American Rescue Plan to pursue locating a secondary water source in the central part of the county.

While the PSC ruling turns down Romney’s request to keep CHPSD from doing any work on a water source, the commission staff said it will continue to investigate the issue.

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