Sewage plant bond up for a vote

VERGENNES/PANTON — The Vergennes Panton Water District Board has decided to request voter approval to upgrade the aging water treatment plant on Arnold Bay in Panton. This treatment facility supplies water to Vergennes and Panton as well as customers in Ferrisburgh, Waltham and Addison.
The estimated project cost is $5.1 million. The board intends to take advantage of low interest loans available from the State of Vermont’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and USDA Rural Development. Current estimates conclude that a typical single family home will pay approximately $368 per year for water after the upgrade is complete.
Water district officials said the average Vermont family connected to public water systems pays approximately $400 per year for water.
The Water District Board will hold a public bond vote on Aug. 4. The polls, at the Water District Office on Canal Street in Vergennes, will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. to registered voters in Vergennes and Panton. Informational meetings will be held on next Wednesday, July 7, at 7 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station and at the Panton Town Offices on July 28 at 7 p.m. Tours of the Water Treatment Plant on Adams Ferry Road will be given from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. before the July 28 meeting.
Officials said this 36-year-old facility has served the water district well with minimal reinvestment. Many critical system components however, have reached the end of their service life. In order for the plant to continue providing customers with a reliable source of water that meets the requirements of state and federal drinking water standards, the board believes it is critical that the facility be upgraded.
The Water Treatment Plant currently treats 650,000 gallons of water per day. Water demand increases to 990,000 gallons per day during the summer months. Water demand is expected to increase by 17 percent over the next 40 years based on population projections. The existing filtration equipment has very limited excess capacity and is more than 10 years beyond its design life.
In addition to the plant’s filtration limitations, the age and condition of other existing equipment throughout the facility requires a complete facility upgrade. Other necessary improvements include: replacement of existing 30 year old pumps, and the standby power generator, upgrade of inadequate and inefficient air handling and heating systems, complete replacement of deteriorated electrical equipment, improvements to chemical storage and feed equipment, and updating of control equipment.
Officials said the structure of the existing water treatment plant is sound and, with appropriate modifications, can continue to serve the water district into the foreseeable future. An engineering study considered constructing a new facility, but use of the existing facility was determined to be most appropriate and cost effective alternative.
While selective “spot improvements” might allow the plant to function for the immediate future, the Water District Board said such an approach would cost significantly more over time. The planned upgrade will prepare the facility for the next 30 to 40 years.

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