BERLIN — Town Administrator Jeff Schulz said the idea of establishing a town water system was well received at the initial informational meeting on the proposal.
He said about 25 local business owners and residents attended the Wednesday night meeting at Berlin Elementary School.
The meeting was to gauge the public’s interest in a town water system that would serve Berlin businesses and residents adjacent to Paine Turnpike, Fisher Road, Airport Road, Scott Hill Road, Industrial Lane, Granger Road, Comstock Road and Crosstown Road.
Most residents and businesses in the area the system would serve currently use private wells for water, and this project would replace the wells of those who hook onto the system. There are also about 20 contaminated wells around Berlin Four Corners that the new system could replace.
The town’s engineer for the project, Mark Youngstrom from Waterbury Engineering, gave a presentation on how the project would be constructed. The town is in the final design phase of the project, which would tap into the town’s three groundwater wells and distribute the water through main lines as well as store water in a 400,000-gallon tank as backup.
To pay for the system, Schulz said, the municipality is planning a townwide vote on a roughly $5 million bond sometime before Town Meeting Day in March. Schulz said that only those who would be using the water system would pay for the bond. It is unclear whether hooking onto the system will be optional or how many customers have agreed to hook on.
If the project goes through, Schulz hopes to have the water system up and running by the end of 2013.
There had been some discussion about holding the vote for the bond on Town Meeting Day, but Schulz said Youngstrom advised against that, citing everything else going on at town meeting and saying it would be easier to get the information out if the vote were separate.
Central Vermont Medical Center had shown some interest in being a customer for the water system, Schulz said, but now it appears the hospital is going to stick with its current arrangement of getting its water through Montpelier.
Wednesday’s meeting was the first in a series the town plans to hold on the water system. Schulz said he expects at least two more public informational meetings before a date for the vote is set. Schulz said the date and time for the next meeting have not been set, but he expected it to fall sometime in mid-January.
The three wells the town owns, which it acquired in 2010, are on Dodge Farm on Scott Hill Road. Those wells were tested and found to have enough capacity for the town as well as no issues with water quality.
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