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$1.2M water tank in Shoreham replacing 1960s original

SHOREHAM — Addison, Bridport and Shoreham residents will be sipping from a new, jumbo water jug in around three weeks.
And when we say “jumbo,” we mean 769,000 gallons.
That’s the capacity of the new concrete water holding tank being installed by the Tri-Town Water District on an easement near the Douglas Orchard off Route 74 in Shoreham.
The new, $1,266,824 tank is replacing the original steel water structure of similar size that dates back to the launch of the Tri-Town system back in the mid-1960s. That original tank is deteriorating and would have cost upwards of $500,000 to repair — a solution Tri-Town officials found unwise, given what would have been an estimated six-week interruption in water service during the fix, and considering the regular maintenance costs for a steel structure. The current steel tank has had to be repainted at least three times in its history, according to Darwin Pratt and Larry Provost, chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the Tri-Town Water District Board.
Board members identified three available sites — one in Bridport, two in Shoreham — to potentially host the new concrete water tank, according to Provost. Officials chose the spot off Route 74 because it will be fairly inconspicuous to neighbors and passersby. Officials said all but the top 15 feet of the 35-foot-tall tank will be buried into the ground.
“It’s not going to stick out like a sore thumb,” Pratt said.
A smattering of Tri-Town residents turned out at the polls on May 23, 2017, to endorse the concrete tank purchase and installation by a 143-10 margin. The Tri-Town board has taken out a 20-year note to finance $1 million of the concrete tank project; the balance will be covered with funds on district reserve funds, according to Pratt.
Provost and Pratt said the tank project won’t, by itself, require a rise in Tri-Town’s current water rate — which board members said are some of the lowest in the state. But they said increases in labor, supplies, chemicals and other expenses could soon drive the need for a Tri-Town’s first water rate bump in more than two years.
“Sooner or later we’re going to have to adjust it,” Pratt said.
Pratt anticipates Tri-Town’s transition from the old tank to the new one will take place in mid-November. There will be no interruption in water service to the system’s approximately 1,676 customers.
Middlebury-based Champlain Construction won the bid to install the tank, which has been purchased from DN Tanks, of Boston.
The old tank — located off Richville Dam Road in Shoreham — will be taken out of service, officials said.
Tri-Town, established Oct. 27, 1964, was the first consolidated water district Vermont. It was financed by a $1.42 million grant and $711,000 loan through the federal government following a terrible drought in Addison County in 1963.
The system initially served 400 families, most of them in charge of dairy operations along Lake Champlain — the main source for Tri-Town water. Last year, the Tri-Town system pumped around 33 million gallons per month through the approximately 500 miles of underground pipe that serves customers in the three towns.
Pratt said the system is powered by three pumping stations and a primary plant in Addison.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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