Manchester water study urged Enough in tank if power fails? NORTH--Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

April 09, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

The town of Manchester needs to make sure it has an adequate water supply and enough water storage capacity, said Theresa Wellman, a community assistance administrator with the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

"I'm suggesting very strongly that the town have a study done of their water supply needs for the next few years," Ms. Wellman said. She spoke at a Wednesday meeting of the town's ad-hoc committee on water and sewers.

The committee is considering revamping the town's water and sewer rate structures. Ms. Wellman has been helping Town Manager Terry Short analyze how various changes to the rate structures would affect utility bills and town revenues.

"We don't even have a day's storage in reserve," said Steven Miller, Manchester's water and wastewater superintendent and chief of the Manchester Volunteer Fire Company.

The town's water tank holds 150,000 gallons, he said, and the town uses 225,000 gallons of water a day.

"We need at least a half a million gallons" of storage, he said.

With inadequate water storage, he said, if the power goes out in a storm like the recent blizzard, some residents may find themselves without water, as well.

"That's something the town really needs to look at," Ms. Wellman HTC said. "They really need to do a survey."

She said that when Manchester Farms is built, the town's water needs will increase further.

"We've got a critical situation with that tank," Mr. Short said. "We're walking the edge, and we recognize that."

The ad-hoc committee was trying to project future capital costs, such as the cost of new water tanks and sewer lines. The information is needed to allow the committee to set new water and sewer rate structures.

"We want to have a pricing structure that's easy to understand," Mr. Short said, as well as a system that is fair and "looks at the long term."

He said he wants to keep the cost to customers as close as possible to current levels, "but not at the expense of having a massive increase later on."

The committee is considering eliminating the 5,000-gallon-a-quarter minimum water charge. The committee asked Ms. Wellman to figure out what base fee the town would have to charge water customers to cover fixed costs, and what the per-gallon price of water would then be.

The average Manchester household uses about 18,000 gallons a quarter, Mr. Short said Tuesday.

Mr. Short said one of his operating assumptions is that the town will extend sewer service to Charmil Drive.

"It's looking like the fall," he said Tuesday.

Last fall, residents were told that the cost of hooking up to the new sewer lines could be as much as $12,600 per lot.

The proposal now being discussed, he said, would have the developer of Manchester Farms pay all of the cost except for $190,000.

That money, about $4,222 for each of 45 homes involved, would have to be paid by the town, the residents, or some combination of the two, Mr. Short said.

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