Monday March 25, 2013

WILMINGTON -- The Wilmington Water District Committee has been looking for a location to drill for a new well to service its customers.

"Are you looking for a site for a well on Ray Hill?" asked Wilmington Selectboard Chairwoman Meg Streeter.

Wilmington Water District Operator Chris Lavoy said there were still efforts going on, looking for a spot on that road.

A water district must have a certain amount of water to supply its users. It is generally double the amount the users actually use. A new well would help sustain the water district, but Lavoy said there are other ways to bring in more water.

Streeter asked if there would be a way to find people who may be interested in selling their wells. Lavoy said the process would involve reviews by officials who specialize in wetlands usage standards and archaeologists. The site would have to be looked at to see how close it would be to transmission lines.

Under a new state law, the Long Term Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule, the district committee will have to move forward with a different kind of system that would allow for proper filtration of the water, "so we don’t go in violation of the state."

"We’re not totally ruling out the opportunity to drill the well," Lavoy said.

A cost analysis by the district’s engineer determined that a well would have the "highest up front cost," in comparison to other ways of providing more water.


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Streeter mentioned that in a report from Southern Vermont Engineers, the Wilmington Water District uses about 105 gallons a minute.

Besides drilling a new well, another option could be digging up springs in the mountains in the district. It was mentioned that the lake could be used as a back-up, but there would be a cost to infiltrate it.

Lavoy said as of now, the district is using 17 springs from Haystack Mountain. Three are under the influence of surface water, making it about 43 percent of the overall water going out to the Water District customers.

There also has been talk of a merger between the Water District and the Town of Wilmington.

Two years ago, someone at Town Meeting had asked how the district committee and Wilmington Selectboard would feel about a possible merger. Streeter added that especially with deadlines for state standards coming up in October 2014, the idea has been put on both groups’ tables.

A memorandum had been signed by both the Selectboard and the Wilmington Water District. The district’s voters would have to approve the merger before it could take place.

The district committee was asked if rates would be raised again this year. The rates will not be raised again this year, but once a year, the district must raise its rates, based on the costs of living, one committee member told the public.

The district’s budget then came up.

"The 2012 budget showed us spending more than we were taking in," said Streeter. "$220,000 versus water rents bringing in $190,000."

"Part of that was because of the engineering stuff that’s been going on," said Laurie Boyd from the Water Commission. "We were close. In the last couple of years, we actually came out ahead."

Towards the end of the meeting, Lavoy brought up water audits and meters.

"We’re talking about changing all the metering chambers and all the meters in all the houses," he said. "They are 21 years old. The life expectancy of (these meters) are 12 to 15 years. They should be changed out every 12 to 15 years. We’ve discussed doing that."

At its annual meeting on March 12, the Water District committee elected Robert Ware as its Moderator. Guy Nido was elected Water Commissioner for three years and Mary Jane Finnegan was elected Water Commissioner for two years.

Patricia Johnson was elected Clerk. Laurie Boyd was elected Treasurer. Catherine Goodell was elected Collector of Water Rents for one year and Christine Richter was elected Auditor.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.