SOUTHINGTON — Water Department officials aren’t sure if the imminent start of two projects – totaling $6.4 million – will cause rates to rise.
A new water tank on Mill Street will cost $4.2 million, while drilling a new well on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike will close $2.2 million.
Paying for those projects may not influence next year’s rates as much as the frequent rain over the past two months, which decreased water usage and hurt revenue.
Bill Casarella, water department superintendent, said it’s a good situation for conservation, but bad for finances.
“It’s been a wet month and a half, two months,” he said. “No one’s using water.”
The cost of the projects will be paid by the Water Department, with help from a state loan with a 2 percent interest rate.
“They’re very, very strict,” Casarella said. “It takes a long time but it’s well worth it with the percentage you get.”
Work on a replacement for well number two could begin in the next few weeks after the contract was recently awarded to D’Amato Construction of Bristol. The project has been planned for five years and should take about a year.
Thomas Murphy, president of the Board of Water Commissioners, said a new well will be dug and used as the primary well with the old one kept as a backup. Wells need to be redug to maintain their productivity.
The department has a schedule to maintain its wells. Well number 7 was redug last year.
“In order to be proactive, you have to plan to redevelop each of the resources in a given period of time,” Murphy said.
The department also plans to replace two aging metal tanks with a single concrete tank on Mill Street. Casarella said that’s a large project broken into three contracts that could go out to bid November. Construction of the new tank could begin in March and the work will take about a year and a half.