Sewer project bid is $100K lower

Maple Street pipe replacement on track

WILTON — The first half of a major sewer overhaul on Maple Street is expected to be finished by the end of Monday, with the second half expected to be finished by the end of the month, according to Sewer Commission Chair Tom Herlihy.

In March, the town voted to approve a $220,000 bond to replace the clay sewer pipes on Maple Street with plastic ones. The clay pipes, it was discovered in 2012, were damaged and leaking, which allowed rainwater and groundwater to seep into the effluent that was being directed to the pump station in Milford. Because the pump station charges Wilton for every gallon of water processed, Wilton is currently being charged with the processing of clean groundwater. The hope of the Sewer Commission is that by replacing the clay pipes with plastic, pump station costs will go down.

The Maple Street project was awarded to Mathewson Companies of Hancock, who came in with a bid of $107,000 to complete the work — a price significantly lower than the $220,000 bonded in March, said Herlihy. The commissioners opted to use some of the remaining funds to install two new, concrete manholes, for an additional cost of approximately $30,000. The rest of the remaining funds will be placed in the town’s unexpended fund balance, where it can be used to lower sewer rates. The commissioners also have the option of approaching taxpayers in March with a warrant article asking voters for the use of the funds for another sewer project, or to transfer the funds into a capital reserve account. The commissioners will be meeting with a representative of N.H. Rural Water Association in the coming weeks, to take a look at the town’s systems and gather recommendations of future endeavors. The board may have a clear idea after those meetings of another project they’d like to tackle, said Herlihy.

For now, the commission is focusing on the renovations on Maple Street. Currently the portion of the street between Prince Street and Park Street has been completed, and crews are set to test pressure in the new lines today , said Herlihy. Should everything go smoothly with the testing, the sewer systems will be transferred to the new pipes by the end of the day Monday. The old pipes will be left in the ground, as clay is a biodegradable material, said Herlihy.

After finishing the Prince-to-Park section, crews will move on to the second half of Maple Street, which should be finished by the end of the month, barring any issues, said Herlihy. None of the sewer users on Maple Street will lose the use of their sewer systems during the work, said Herlihy.

The repayment of the 10-year bond for the Maple Street project will fall on sewer users and not taxpayers. It will cost approximately $26,000 per year to pay off, said Herlihy. The board anticipates being able to use $19,000 of the budget that was previously spent paying off a 30-year bond, which was paid off last year, and the savings from the pump station to offset the cost. The board has not ruled out a rate increase to cover any remaining costs, but will have a better idea of whether that will be needed after the hook up to the new sewer system is completed and the potential savings from Milford are calculated, said Herlihy.

“We’re going to do our best not to increase rates, although it may come to that,” he said. “We’re on or ahead of our budget, which bodes well for not having an increase. If we must increase the rates, it will be modest. We know how much people have to pay, because we have to pay it, too. We want to do the right thing and take care of items that are going to cause problems in the future, but we’re also being careful about the money we spend.”

The Sewer Commission will meet tonight in the court room of the Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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