Town OKs purchase of two wells to ease chronic water shortage

Manchester will buy 4 acres on Ferrier Road

April 12, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Two new wells at the edge of Manchester are expected to provide the water-poor town with enough to eventually ease its chronic water shortage.

The water could be available in eight to 10 months, said Steven L. Miller, Manchester's director of public works and parks.

The Town Council voted this week to buy 4 acres for $220,000 on Ferrier Road near Route 30, north of town.

"This is a happy item," said Mayor Christopher B. D'Amario. "It brings us two more wells, and God knows, we could use them."

For years, the town in Northeast Carroll has struggled to find water. The shortage was aggravated in 1996, when state environmental officials banned the use of several town springs as a water source because of the risk of contamination from surface pollutants.

The water supply is in "critical shape," Miller told the council this week. All seven of the town wells were low despite recent rains.

Worried that a large fire in town could drain the supply, Miller suggested the town find a pond as a secondary source for firefighting. He also plans to meet with large water users to check for leaks in their systems.

The town's cable channel has been airing a public service announcement by 11-year-old Esther Schott, a member of the Deep Run and Fine Feathered Friends 4-H Club. She was invited to do so after giving a presentation to the council last month, using poster board illustrations to show simple household measures to conserve water.

Miller said town residents have taken conservation seriously - and estimated that they are saving an additional 15,000 to 18,0000 gallons a day.

The council passed an ordinance last month requiring builders to supply more water than they need for new developments.

Any builder who did not have final approval as of Nov. 27 now must drill a well to produce at least 50,000 gallons per day, or two nearby wells with a combined yield of 75,000 gallons.

Anything less than that amount would not be worth the cost to the town, which would take over operation of the wells, said D'Amario.

A higher required well yield means extra water for the town - and is the goal of the new ordinance, officials said. If a developer cannot meet the water-supply requirement after four attempts, and if the town has an adequate supply, its officials may at their discretion provide water for a fee of $5,000 per unit.

Council members agreed that nothing in the ordinance would forbid small developers from pooling their resources to meet the minimum requirement, after concerns were raised in a public hearing before the vote.

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