No resolution made for funding of Poppasquash water main project


Residents of Poppasquash will have to wait a bit longer for the start of the Phase II water line project.

Town council members did not make a decision Tuesday night on funding the project, following a special council meeting held to discuss the matter. Rather, the four members present opted to extend any decision until Nov. 19, when more information could be gathered. Councilman Halsey Herreshoff was absent.

The town has already funded 100-percent of the cost of Phase I, which connected waterlines from Duffield and Clifton roads down through Asylum and Harbor View roads. That line increased flow by 900 gallons per minute, well above the 500 gallons per minute needed for adequate water flow out of a hydrant for fire suppression.

Phase II would replace the existing six-inch water main along Poppasquash Road with an eight-inch pipe - about 4,100 feet. This would increase water pressure, enabling the use of two more fire hydrants along the street. With the addition of the new line, water flow to the end of the road did increase from sub-100, to just over 100.

The cost for Phase II is $766,00. The town would be responsible for $300,000, and Bristol County Water Authority's portion amounts to $469,000. BCWA's cost reflects the amount it would cost the Authority to clean and line the current six-inch water main with cement.

"Is there anyway to increase BCWA's cost share in that? We've already invested a fair amount of money in this project," said Mary Parella, council chairwoman.

However, Pam Marchand, executive director, told Ms. Parella that it was common practice to have the developer - in this case, the town - pay for the cost of the upgrade, or installation of new water lines. Once complete, the BCWA would take over management and maintenance of those lines. The BCWA wasn't in a position to add extra funds for the project, because the funding was sourced from a pre-approved bond.

"Once you start increasing the funds, you'll start taking away from other projects and it wouldn't be fair to push aside those projects and delay them for this," Ms. Marchand said.

Should the town forgo its option to install a new pipe, BCWA would still forge ahead with cleaning and lining the existing pipe. That would increase flow to about 400 gallons per minute, said Tim Theis, project manager with BCWA.

"We have run all the models through our computer system, having typed in all the factors and the end result is just about 400 gallons," flowing from a hydrant, Mr. Thies said.

With that, and utilizing the fire department's tanker task force, Councilman Nathan Calouro asked Fire Chief Bob Martin if that would be sufficient enough, or if the entire main should be replaced.

"In my opinion, what I'd like to see, is what would the increase be if we lined the pipe?" he said. "Rather than invest in town funds, what would be the out put if they line it? If they can't attain (the standard 500) just by lining it, then they have an issue that needs to be addressed. It's their hydrants we rent from them."

Chief Martin suggested that Mr. Theis submit a letter stating the output with the main having been cleaned and lined. With that figure, the chief would refer to the state fire marshal and ISO representatives to determine if a sub-500 figure would be adequate for fire suppression, and thus a better ISO rating.

"Poppasquash stands on its own because there is no water," Chief Martin said. "We've overcome that with the ISO and all the insurance companies to date with the implementation of an attack plan. Pools are available, and many homes beyond the gate have cisterns to hold water, because I can't pump out salt water to that area like I can the northern end of it.

"But the use of fire hydrants does not mean I would disband the task force. I will still use it."

Since Phase I came in under budget, the town has additional funds that could be used towards Phase II, about $30,000-$40,000.

The next meeting to discuss the water main project has been scheduled for Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.


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comn sense

When those million dollar neighborhoods were built, the customary solution would be to assess an impact fee at the time the new developments were going in.

Now the argument seems to be that since it wasn't assessed years ago, all taxpayers and ratepayers are responsible for the upgrade of a few.

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