Waterville Valley nearing completion of water system upgrade and first public works garage
WATERVILLE VALLEY — The town is nearing substantial completion of a multiyear, multimillion dollar upgrade and expansion of its municipal water system.
As of Monday, the $3.7 million project was between 65 to 70 percent complete, said Town Manager Mark Decoteau, and it will be finished sometime next spring.
Working with the N.H. Department of Environmental Services, town leaders decided to embark on the project to meet the “peak” demands of the Waterville Valley water system, whose lines connect every property in this resort community and which provides all water for drinking and fire suppression.
On a peak day, the water system serves between 3,000 and 4,000 users, said Decoteau.
A rule of thumb, the ideal production capacity of a municipal water supply is whether “peak use” can be met if the primary source is taken offline, Decoteau said. When Waterville Valley took its top-producing well offline, the two other wells on the Mad River could not meet the demand, leading to the current project which entails digging a new well and running a mile-long line from it to an existing treatment building.
The waterline runs beneath a recreational trail that will be widened, improved and that by next year should show no signs of being disturbed, said Decoteau. The project, which also includes relocating a sewer line and installing some 600 water meters that will allow the tracking of water-use patterns, is being managed for the town by CMA Engineers of Manchester and Portsmouth.Decoteau said the town’s newest well, located in the White Mountain National Forest, will produce up to 300 gallons per minute and will be used on an as-needed basis. The well will not be used to expand development in Waterville Valley, which Decoteau said, is at near full build-out on private land.
Being located in the WMNF means the area around the well will never be developed and thus the town’s water supply will be secure for a long time, said Decoteau.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Waterville Valley a combined Rural Development grant and loan for the water system work, with $1.5 million coming in the form of a grant and $2.1 million in a low-interest loan.
“We’re on budget,” Decoteau said, “but a little bit behind schedule. We would have liked to have finished by the end of this year.” Nonetheless, the work was necessary because “We’re so isolated. There’s no other places to get water, and we have to be self-sufficient,” said Decoteau.
Public works garage
The town is wrapping up the erection of its first public works garage. Voters approved the $800,000 building at Town Meeting and work on the 60-foot by 80-foot, four-bay garage began in April and is expected to be done by October, said Public Works Director Jim Mayhew.
The DPW will store seven vehicles in the new garage, Mayhew said, all of which until now have been left outside.
Storing the vehicles inside, he said, will extend their operational lives while also making life easier for the employees who run them, especially during the winter months.Moving the DPW maintenance bay into another building that currently houses the town’s trash truck and other equipment, the Waterville Valley Fire Department will have more space for itself in the municipal Rust Building.Having a place for DPW to store its vehicles, said Mayhew, is “something to celebrate.”