Refurbishment plans for Wilmington Wastewater Treatment Plant to be unveiled

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WILMINGTON >> The Selectboard was warned that it was almost waiting for a major breakdown at the wastewater treatment plant.

"We're limping along," said Chief Operator of the Wilmington Wastewater Treatment Plant John Lazelle. "If you can't do bits and pieces out of your operating budget, boom. All of a sudden you're trying to take $50,000 out of your capital account."

During a budget work session on Wednesday night, Lazelle pointed out the overall proposed increase for the plant would be $3,001. The 1 percent increase would cover wages and benefits, which was expected. The other increases involved electricity costs as well as telephones and pages.

"Everything else was level-funded or decreased," Lazelle said.

According to the proposed budget, the rate per single family house will go up by $2.07. The FY15 budget showed each ECU cost $352.72. The FY16 budget shows each ECU will cost $354.79. If approved, this would be another 1 percent increase.

"It had been pretty stable for about eight years. I don't see any huge increase in any expense line item besides salaries," said resident Meg Streeter. "You notice it. It's not just an abstract calculation, for sure."

Lazelle said an upgrade and refurbishment is part of the plans at the plant. But that would not affect this upcoming budget.

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"It's going to be a bond that right now, the users will be responsible for paying for," he said.

The topic will be further explored on Wednesday, when Wilmington's water engineer Wayne Elliott is expected to present an update on the planning study for the refurbishment of the facility. According to an agenda, the presentation will include talk of a new primary treatment unit, a new building to house the unit and renovations to the control building. There will also be discussion regarding a timeline.

Lazelle said Elliott will give a proposal that will outline the total cost. Elliot also will touch on how the overall budget and ECU rate will be affected.

On April 2, the Selectboard signed an agreement that would be sent out as part of an application to the state seeking assistance through an Agency of Natural Resources revolving loan fund. Wilmington was put on a list to potentially receive funding after a survey had declared the town eligible for it.

Elliott brought the board an application that was prepared to be sent to the state. His firm, Aldrich and Elliott Water Resource Engineers, was hired using state funds. At the time, Town Manager Scott Murphy noted that the facility had aging equipment and Lazelle believed the study was a good step.

Additionally, Vermont Efficiency will be conducting another energy audit on the facility.

"They couldn't find any magical saving for us but we will do it again," he said.

Contact Chris Mays at 802-254-2311 ext. 273


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