FARMINGTON — A small number of residents attended a Farmington Water District meeting Tuesday night to hear details of a proposed reservoir-replacement project.

Several town and state permits are still pending on the project that would replace an earthen reservoir with a concrete one with half the current capacity.

Replacement is being proposed due to concerns over lack of adequate water flow when fighting fires or other high water usages, and the problems caused by potential leaks or failures.

Life-cycle cost analyses show a new reservoir would have the longest life, require less maintenance and have lower overall costs. 

A $300,000 grant from the USDA is being sought and a loan through the Maine Rural Water program is being pursued. The Public Utilities Commission must approve a water rate increase to cover the anticipated costs of more than $2.5 million. Customers may see as much as a 25 percent increase.

District Assessor James Andrews  said: “We hope to keep costs down as much as possible. It’s less than $1 per week for a standard resident customer. The trade-off is worth it.”

Resident Cheryl Best said an increase would be difficult for seniors and those on fixed incomes.

Resident Steve Muise asked about construction plans.

Jim Lord of Dirigo Engineering said: “The new reservoir will be adjacent to the current one. The reservoir would be out of service for five to six months if it was put where the current one is. That’s an excessive (period of) time with less fire protection.”

Lord said some trees would have to be removed and that there would be a storage area and an area for concrete casting.

“I’m glad you picked a relatively unforested area,” Muise said. “This is a better ‘aesthetic’ in the long run than the barbed wire there now. It’ll be really cool when done.”

Lord said he expects the proposal to be on the Farmington Planning Board’s agenda for the March 12 meeting. 

A public hearing is required as part of the rate-increase process.

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The Farmington Water District is proposing to build a 2.5 million-gallon, concrete reservoir, represented by the circle in the plan seen here. it would be adjacent to the existing 5 million-gallon, earthen reservoir shown by the rectangular area in the plan. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

The Farmington Water District is proposing to replace an outdated earthen reservoir off Anson Street with a smaller, more-secure reservoir. Jim Lord of Dirigo Engineering, left, shows project details to resident Steve Muise. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)


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