Wednesday January 9, 2013

GUILFORD - With a new municipal water line finally ready, town officials are offering assistance to those who want to tap in.

The connection, which brings Brattleboro water to Algiers Village, was the subject of a public meeting last week. Officials expect more interest in the coming weeks.

While it will be up to each interested property owner to connect to the line, the town has expertise and resources available to help.

"We would like to facilitate the process for folks," Town Administrator Katie Buckley said.

The line, constructed with a mix of private and public funding, follows Route 5 from Brattleboro into Algiers. Town voters approved additional borrowing to construct two extensions reaching Guilford Volunteer Fire Department and Guilford Community Church. Brattleboro will maintain the line while Guilford handles billing.

Major construction was finished before fall, but it took several months to finish a meter vault and complete line testing. Now, officials are inviting residents to tap into the line.

"We're not requiring people to connect," Buckley said. "This is elective on each resident's part."

A meeting on Thursday mainly drew people from the eastern side of Route 5.

"We looked at each person's property, and we had some cost estimates," Buckley said.


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She also explained the connection process: Residents first must ask for a water-allocation permit from Guilford officials, who in turn will make that request to Brattleboro.

Buckley is the contact for allocation permits. She can be reached at the town office at 802-254-6857 or guilfordta@yahoo.com.

Those who want water also must get a state permit. That should happen only after receiving permission from the town, Buckley said.

"That will support their application to the state," she said.

Guilford officials can support and coordinate the tap-in process, especially with the pipe project having been finished so recently. For instance, Brattleboro- based Stevens & Associates completed a tap-in feasibility study that would be useful for potential customers.

"If they want to connect, it would be of benefit to them to do it now," Buckley said. "We do have resources - the engineering firm and local contractors we work with."

Like Buckley, Selectboard member Anne Rider has been deeply involved with the project. She said the town can assist in creating "economies of scale" for water customers.

Officials believe the water line, when fully functional, will enhance the safety and the economy of the Algiers area. Benefits include new fire hydrants and the availability of municipal water for apartments that Windham & Windsor Housing Trust is constructing on Guilford Center Road.

"It will be such a good thing when we get this done and everybody is connected who wants to be," Rider said.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-2542311, ext. 275.