GROTON — Officials from the West Groton Water Supply District met with the Board of Selectmen Monday to present a plan for a new well opening in West Groton. The well would provide customers with a cleaner source of drinking water.
The new source is needed due to the steady deterioration in water quality at the district’s sole well off Townsend Road, according to members of the West Groton Board of Water Commissioners.
In a statement read to selectmen Monday, Water Superintendent Gordon Newell said water pumped from the 95-year-old Townsend Road well has shown increased levels of iron and manganese that causes unsightly stains on clothes and plumbing fixtures.
Although the well is meeting the district’s water needs by pumping at only two-thirds of its capacity, the possibility that the well could fail at some point creates the need for an alternative source of water.
With the positive results of test bores in the town forest and the recent purchase by the district of a 100-acre parcel from local landowner Barnie Blood, Newell told selectmen that West Groton now has two separate sites from which water could be accessed in the future.
Since the purchase of the Blood property came with a 15-year restriction before any well could be drilled on the land, the district decided to proceed with developing the second site within the town forest. An easement would need to be acquired both for the well site and a 20-foot wide roadway to access the well from the former Blood property.
Having met with the Town Forest Committee, Newell said a route following Lawrence Lane to Town Forest Road to Ames Pond Road was decided upon, but an additional 700-foot length would need to be constructed through the forest to reach the well site. Newell dismissed fears of fragmenting the forest with too many roads by saying the new roadway would replace an existing stretch that would be reclaimed by the forest through disuse.
In addition, the stretch of pipeline leading from the well through the forest would be studded with hydrants that would provide coverage in the 507-acre forest in case of a fire.
Once online, the new well would provide the district’s 2,100 customers with up to 600 gallons of clean water per minute with any excess potentially becoming available to the rest of the town if a connection between the West Groton Water District and the Groton Water Department is made.
Time, however, was of the essence, said Newell, due to a pending loan from the state amounting to $800,000. To qualify for it, the district must file its application by Oct. 15. To do that, town meeting must approve the well plan before then.
Because the proposed well site is located on town property, only a vote by residents at a special town meeting can approve the plan. The water district met with selectmen hoping to receive their recommendation for the plan.
“I personally feel that it is going to be easy (to receive permission from residents),” said Newell.
The board was not opposed to the plan, but the town administrative officer Jean Kitchen suggested they draw up a formal agreement between the water district and the town listing all the points raised at Monday night’s meeting.
In addition, district representatives will meet with members of the Conservation Commission to discuss wetlands issues along the planned route of the access through the forest.
District officials hoped to be able to schedule a special town meeting on the issue sometime in September.