Good question: What are those black boxes?

A black box recently installed at the corner of Parkerville and Richards Roads

Several eagle-eyed residents noticed some black boxes cropping up around town and wondered what they were. Guesses ranged from controls for new traffic lights to utility boxes. I asked DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan for the real story, and here’s what she said:

The black boxes are communication boxes for the water system. They are located at the pressure relief valves (PRVs) between the high and low water systems. As part of the water system improvement article in 2008 Town Meeting voted to replace and upgrade the PRVs, upgrade the water system telemetry controls to a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, replace water main and rework the Water System master Plan. The black boxes are required to control the PRVs.  The SCADA system will communicate with the PRVs through the boxes. The DPW will clean up the work areas and screen the boxes where possible. Any planting around the boxes probably won’t happen until the fall.

So now you know!

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Mike Elfland
12 years ago

I really like this type of post. The best thing a newspaper can do is anticipate and answer reader curiosities.

Lisa Matthew
12 years ago

Just saw this exact black box last night and was curious — no longer, thank you!

Bill Sones
12 years ago

The one on the corner of Ledge Hill Rd and Rte. 85 is a hazard (it blocks cars’ view of southbound cars as they egress Ledge Hill) and an eyesore. No one in the neighborhood was consulted prior to the installation and now it’s more dangerous to get onto Rte 85 and residents are greeted by the prominent display of a big ugly 6′ x 4′ black box as they enter the road. I’ve never seen a similar control box for water systems in any residential neighborhood that I’ve been to. So we can spend millions to move utilities underground on Main St… but move them out of ground in other areas? Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and there certainly wasn’t a proper vetting process for the decision.

southsider
12 years ago

thanks for the info… maybe they can fix the broken down fence that separates the sidewalk from the Mass Pike while they’re there… there’s a full section of fence that been down since a car hopped off the Pike a few years ago!

greg stewart
12 years ago

Does any one else have water issues? I have a customer in the higher elavations of town and she has such poor water presure and volume that she is unable to water the yard.

dean dairy
12 years ago

I think it’s supposed to symbolize the next ascent of mankind, or something like that.

We have the video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqZ8W2RO2CI#t=2m30s

carrie alpert
12 years ago

ok. so next question i have is why is there often times black thick type roping/cording/electrical wiring on some streets/highway/routes? there is always 2 pieces of it. Is it to track how many people are driving on that particular stretch of road at a particular time period? and if so, why?

Pauline Ryan
12 years ago

I would like to second the comment about the Ledge Hill/Route 85 box. It is definitely hazardous and you have to inch out pretty far onto Route 85 (in the oncoming traffic lane) in order to see around the box. It is very dispiriting that this was done without any neighborhood notification.

For many years, those of us in this neighborhood have tried to urge a change on the Ledge Hill/Sears Road egress since it is hazardous to exit the neighborhood and turn left onto Sears due to the grade of the knoll and the inability to see oncoming cars. Once I got a smaller car, it became even more difficult and I avoid that intersection. Now, my only other egress from the neighborhood has a similar problem.

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