Bristol sewer to be studied for expansion

BRISTOL — The Bristol wastewater treatment system will soon get a thorough going-over.
The selectboard has commissioned a preliminary engineering report on the 25-year-old system, which is too small to accommodate future growth and change in the downtown Bristol Core Area. Upgrading the system could cost more than $600,000, according to a report prepared for the town last year by Green Mountain Engineering.
The engineering report, which the selectboard approved at its Jan. 7 meeting would not only give the town a clearer picture of what the upgrade project might look like (and cost), but it will also qualify the project for state assistance.
Or, to be more precise: it will qualify the project to get in line for state assistance.
Vermont’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) offers low-interest loans for clean water projects, but to get on its “project priority list,” municipalities must provide a preliminary engineering report.
They must also reapply to the CWSRF every year.
“Some projects go through this annual process for years before finally making it up the list,” said Bristol Town Administrator Valerie Capels.
CWSRF’s funding for the feasibility studies it requires is more straightforward, however.
In addition to interest-free loans, the program subsidizes half of preliminary planning costs — up to $100,000 per project — as long as the funding lasts.
The cost for preparing a preliminary engineering report for Bristol’s wastewater treatment system is likely to cost quite a bit less than that, but the town won’t know until it starts getting bids for the project.
Green Mountain Engineering defines the “Bristol Core Area” as Main Street between Holley Hall and Hatch 31, plus the surrounding area between Shaw’s supermarket to the north and the Craven Apartments to the south.
The firm’s January 2018 report warned that the current sewer system could not accommodate, for example, a new 50-seat restaurant or six two-bedroom apartments.
The report also recommended a number of urgent safety fixes to the current system, which the selectboard plans to address separately at a future date.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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