Upgrades coming to wastewater plant

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DOVER — North Branch Fire District officials hope to put a $4.7 million project out to bid this winter and begin construction in the spring.

Voters in the district narrowly approved a bond for upgrades in a 33-31 vote on Nov. 9. The project includes new clarifiers, improvements to sludge management via a centrifuge, reconstruction of the sprayfield, replacement of PVC pond liners, and new buildings for disinfection and screening.

"It's everything they need for the long term," said Ed Floyd, project engineer. "Everything is now addressed."

Needs were partially addressed in upgrades in 2012, he said, "and this completes the whole master plan if you can call it that."

The project is expected to go out to bid as one contract.

"So we'll be taking bids later this winter — well, I guess it's not winter yet," Floyd said. "And the construction will go for about a year and a half."

The same upgrades were defeated by voters by one vote, 36-35, in March. District users will begin paying for the bond starting in 2020.

Voters also approved of exempting town properties from the bond payments, in a 49-14 vote. But the Board of Abatement will still need to approve that, said Linda Holland, North Branch administrative manager.

The district has 835 registered voters.

Asked why the bond passed, Floyd said, "Oh, I don't know. It was close, huh?"

It brought back to memory similar close votes with a project he was involved with at Stratton Mountain Resort years ago. Ultimately, a vote passed by "a couple votes" to create a fire district so a sewer disposal system could be developed.

"It's a small-town Vermont vote," said Floyd.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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