ARPA funding approved for Wilton pump station work

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-24-2023 12:01 PM

The Wilton Select Board approved about $19,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for repairs to the town’s sewer pump stations.

During the board’s meeting Monday night, Sewer Commission Chair Chris Carter requested use of the funds, distributed to towns as COVID-19 relief, for two separate projects.

The first request was for $10,500 for a roof replacement on the town’s Intervale Road pump station. The second was for $8,750 to replace a concrete cap on the wet well in the Mill Street pump station.

Carter said both issues have been leading to other issues in the stations, but said the roof is the more-pressing issue. The Intervale Road pump station roof has “deteriorated to the point that the roof is collapsing,” Carter said, and it is starting to cause other structural damage.

“We’re looking to replace that roof as soon as possible,” Carter said.

The Sewer Commission was also requesting to use ARPA funding to replace a concrete cap on the wet well at the Mill Street pump station.

“What’s happened is that over the years, the concrete has deteriorated, and started cracking,” Carter explained.

The moisture from the damaged cap has begun to create other problems in the station, including deteriorating the aluminum electrical pipes.

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“We’re having a multitude of different problems because of the moisture, and it stems from the cap,” Carter said.

While Carter said the roof was the most-pressing issue, he requested a total of $19,200 to address both.

“That would take care of both projects, and they’re both pretty significant issues,” Carter said.

The town currently has about $85,144 left of its ARPA allocation, which initially totaled about $398,000. The town has until the end of 2026 to fully allocate and spend the funds.

The board discussed both requests, and agreed they were pressing issues that should be addressed.

Selectman Kermit Williams, who also serves on the Sewer Commission, noted that the commission had previously been allocated ARPA funding for a project to replace pump station control panels, and that project had come in significantly under budget. The board had initially approved $60,000 in ARPA funding, but the final cost of the replacements was about $39,000.

Both of the current requests together about made up that difference, Williams pointed out.

The board didn’t have any qualms about approving the projects, though both Chair Matt Fish and Selectman D.J. Garcia said they would like to see a more-measured approach for the remaining ARPA funding, and more long-term planning in general.

“We’re fortunate to have this ARPA money,” Garcia said, noting that there should be capital improvement plans for things like general maintenance or instances when there are emergency situations when grant funding is not available.

Fish agreed, noting that for the approximately $66,000 in ARPA funds remaining, the board should request that the applicable town departments create prioritized lists of potential projects for the board to review.

Despite that view, Garcia moved to approve funding for both projects. Williams seconded the motion for the purposes of discussion, but abstained from the actual vote, due to his position on the Sewer Commission. The approval passed with Garcia and Fish in favor.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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