The Mountain Times

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Town of Killington considers municipal water

KILLINGTON-The Town of Killington is considering the feasibility of a municipal town water system. It would be an expansion to SP Land's proposed water system needed for their Phase II village plans. "About a year and a half ago, Steve Selbo suggested that if the Town ever wanted to consider a municipal water system, now would be a good time as much of the infrastructure and planning could be shared," explained Town Manager Seth Webb.

Whether or not there is a need for a municipal water system, now or in the future, was the first phase of a water study conducted by Aldrich + Elliott Engineers of Essex Junction, Vt. The engineers identified sporadic water needs with limited interest based on the current water supply sources (wells) and a survey of local need. The town then requested more information regarding the feasibility of partnering with SP Land- the second phase of the water study.

On August 28, the Selectboard welcomed Joe Duncan and Nathan Pion of AE Engineers to the town selectboard meeting to present their second phase findings.

Duncan outlined the objectives, which included first, understanding SP Land's proposed water system and the Town's water requirements, and then what the needed alterations/expansions to SP Land's water system would be in order to meet those requirements.

Pion then reiterated that Phase I of SP Land's proposed water system would utilize existing wells and that this would be sufficient through at least 2014. However, if the Town was ever interested in developing a municipal water system, there are important steps to take while SP Land is developing their new water system plans. SP Land's design plans are approximately 60-75% complete, they reported.

The Valley Wells, located along the Sherburne Flats, are capable of safe yields of 600-900 gpm daily, which is plenty sufficient for the village and town needs, the engineers say. The estimated construction costs for developing this new water system is $10-11 million.

If the town wanted an option to have a municipal water supply, the necessary improvements to SP Land's infrastructure would cost $1 million plus cost sharing components. The initial $1 million includes an expansion to the Sports Hill Pump Station, preparations to the tank site, and increasing the size of the Village transmission main.

"The question in front of the board now is 'Do we want to have the option for a municipal water supply?'" said Webb.
Once the initial adjustments and expansions were made to SP Land's plans the town could add the infrastructure to service the town at a later date, Webb says. The cost to service the town is estimated to be another $4.5 million and would include a 750,000-gallon storage tank, two vertical turbine pumps, a transmission main from the Village to the Town, pressure reducing vaults and necessary valves and appurtenances.

Based on these estimates it would cost the town approximately $5.5 million plus cost sharing with SP Land to develop municipal water. Some anticipated cost sharing components outlined by AE Engineers included; wells, Sports Hill Pump Station and the transmission main, but are not limited to these.

Duncan highlighted benefits, from a development standpoint, for Killington to have a town water system noting that the delivery of water may be a competitive issue along East Mountain Road and that the new system would address quality and quantity issues throughout the town and its projected build-out.

The Selectboard plans to meet with AE Engineers again in October to review their completed technical report, which will likely have more details about the assumptions on town water use and access as well as comparisons with other municipalities. The next step will be for the Town to discuss ownership, cost sharing and financing with SP Land to better understand the true feasibility of building a Killington municipal water system.