Essex, Colchester, Winooski vote to upgrade water supply

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By Evan Johnson
For The Essex Reporter

At town meeting on March 4, voters in Essex, Colchester and Winooski voted 9,987 to 3,728 in favor of a $2,775,000 plan to upgrade regional water storage and replace water transmission piping.

The plan allows the Champlain Water District Board of Cater Commissioners to borrow up to $2,775,000 for the purpose of financing the District’s cost of making certain public water system improvements. These improvements include the replacement and upgrade of a regional water storage tank on Water Tower Hill from 850,000 to 1,275,000 gallons and replacement of 1700 feet of 16” water transmission piping near along exit 16. The new pre-stressed concrete tank is estimated to cost $1,875,000 with the cost of replaced transmission piping to total $900,000 for a total estimated cost of $2.8 million.

The existing tank was installed in 1964. Work on installing the new tank is expected to begin in May and finish by October. The piping to be replaced was installed in 1972 and its replacement is dependent on the state’s diverging double diamond highway drainage project. Jim Fay, General Manager for the CWD said installation could begin this summer.

The 16” water line replacement project will increase the uniform CWD wholesale water rate 1.1 percent, which will equate to an increase of $1.54 per year for the average family served by CWD. The storage tank investment will be reimbursed to CWD by the municipal water systems served by this regional tank, and will not impact CWD’s wholesale water rate. The water tank serves the following municipal water systems: Town of Essex, City of Winooski, Colchester Fire District #1, Colchester Fire District #3, Colchester Town System at Exit 16, and the Malletts Bay Water Company.

“At this point it’s always economical to replace infrastructure when you can,” Fay said. “It’s going to be a challenging project, but one that’s necessary.”