Bristol councilors 'OK' funding Poppasquash water line

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"Hooray."

It was news Cliff Woods had waited over a year to hear, and now he and his neighbors are all smiles.

The Town Council reach a resolution Wednesday night to fund Phase II of the Poppasquash water line project, which would make the fire hydrants usable in the event of a fire.

"We've felt very insecure about the hydrants not working," he said.

"And that's not a good feeling," added his wife, Patricia.

Councilors met Feb. 5 to discuss the town's capital projects over the next five years; and providing assurance to those residents on Poppasquash Road was a priority.

"This is an important need to satisfy the safety need of these residents," said Councilor Halsey Herreshoff.

For months, councilors vacillated on whether to spend an additional $300,000 to fund a second phase that would upgrade the water lines along Poppasquash Road. The town had already spent $400,000 installing a 12-inch line connecting Clifton Street and Duffield Road to Harbor View Avenue. That project enabled the fire hydrant at the end of Harbor View Avenue to be used.

The second phased called for a new, 8-inch plastic pipe with fused joints, that would replace the existing 100-year-old 6-inch cast iron pipe. This would deliver about 1,148 gallons per minute, enough to provide fire suppression to the area’s two fire hydrants. Currently, residents tapping into the system are only drawing about 364 gallons per minute.

The Bristol County Water Authority agreed to a cost-share for the project, putting $469,000 toward the project, which is what it would cost the utility to clean and line the current main. However, that option would not have provided adequate water flow for fire suppression.

The route for the Phase II is sited along a proposed upgrade to the bike path through Colt State Park. Approximately two-thirds of the main will be installed along the bike path, while the southern third will be installed through the woods to the existing Poppasquash connection, ending just beyond the Bristol Yacht Club. The total length is 4,100 feet.

"Right now, we need to draw out immediately $100,000 from our capital reserves," said Town Administrator Tony Teixeira. "Going forward, how we fund the balance, remains to be seen."

Since the project is expected to be completed before July 1, which is when the town's new budget cycle begins, Mr. Teixeira said the town may draw upon that budget to pay the remaining balance. Out of which fund, he's unsure of right now.

"We need to see how the budget works out for the remainder of the year," he said. If there's additional money left in the current budget, the town will opt to use those funds.

The BCWA is on board with the proposed payment plan, Mr. Teixeira said, and the project is slated to start this spring.

The new line will connect back with a 600-foot, 8-inch line was added in 1966, which provides water to the Bristol Yacht Club area; and another 8-inch line that was added in 1990, which supplies water to the West Harbor View plat – about five residential homes.

Water flow in those areas is also expected to increase following the project's completion.

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