To meet the EPA’s Long Term 2 enhanced surface treatment rule, or LT2 rule, the district will need to install either an ultraviolet or updated filtration system to combat microbes. According to the EPA, the purpose of the LT2 rule is to reduce illness linked with the parasite Cryptosporidium and other disease-causing microorganisms in drinking water. According to John Goodell, an engineer from SVE Associates in Brattleboro working on behalf of the district, the water currently has no issues with these contaminants, but must come into compliance. If the district does not meet the deadline, it could face heavy fines and enforcement action from the EPA.
“It can’t be overstated how critical this is,” said Goodell. “We want to be sure that the community clearly understands the importance of the bond, as well as the project.”
Goodell said that the district and town have tried since 2005 to get approval from the state for water projects, and the recent EPA compliance issues have allowed them to secure a favorable funding package that could see the district pay as little as negative 3% interest on the bond.
Along with compliance issues, the district has included a number of upgrades in the project scope. This includes the replacement of piping on Fairview Avenue and Castle Hill Road, which has a history of breaks and needs an upgrade for firefighting purposes. Piping, some of which dates back to the early 20th century, would also be replaced, running from springs on Haystack Mountain to a reservoir on Ray Hill Road.
The water district currently includes the entire downtown, stretches north, south, east, and west, and includes Lisle Hill. For the district’s 350 voters, Goodell says a yes vote is the best financial decision voters can make, and will save years of recurring replacement work as the piping will eventually need upgrades either way. “If the bond is voted down, the work will still will need to be done, but the district would lose the financial assistance from the state,” said Goodell. “If a voter says ‘I don’t want to spend my money on this,’ the truth is, there’s nothing in this project that they’re not going to have to do at some time.”
The first informational meeting is Tuesday at 7 pm at the Wilmington fire station on Beaver Street. Another informational meeting is scheduled for March 11, at 7 pm, and the district bond vote will be held March 18, between 10 am and 7 pm, also at the fire station.