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Town Forest well site nears completion, ready in August

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GROTON — A long-sought-after expansion of the West Groton Water Supply District has received one of the last pieces of the puzzle needed before going on line later this summer.

According to West Groton Water Superintendent Gordon Newell, if all continues to go well for his district, a new $1.8 million pump station and well, located in the Town Forest, will begin operation early in August.

Newell made the prediction after an affirmative vote by members of the Planning Board at their meeting of June 14, when it was decided to award the Water District a special permit to store water treatment chemicals within the pump station building.

Project engineer Jeffrey Faulkner told the board that the three chemicals were safe when not being used and would be stored in a protected area inside the pumping station.

The chemicals, said Faulkner, were needed for the purification process to make sure that the water taken from the Town Forest well was free of contaminants and safe to drink.

The new pump station is surrounded by a 6-foot fence topped with barbed wire and is located at the end of a 2,000-foot access road leading into the forest from West Main Street. From the pump station, the well is another 3,400 feet farther into the forest.

Newell said that the imminent completion of the well project has come after a full year of construction, which only began after an approval process that lasted five years.

When completed, said Newell, the pump station will have the ability to deliver 850,000 gallons of water a day at full capacity.

Concerns raised by the Planning Board about the chemicals included the manner of their storage, the possibility of spillage, and access to the site by the town’s emergency vehicles.

Also on the mind of board members was how and when the chemicals would be delivered to the site, which Newell assured would be done only on a quarterly basis with none planned for the winter months.

Newell also told the board that an alarm system inside the pump station building would alert the Police Department in case of a spill or other accident with the department then notifying district officials if anything was amiss.

“It certainly looks as if you’ve crossed all your T’s,” said board member Scott Wilson.

Satisfied with the district’s plans for the chemicals and operation of the pump station, the board voted 5-0 to approve the special permit application.

With the affirmative vote, Newell said that the district would proceed with plans to run a “dry” test of the new pump facility without chemicals on June 20, followed by an inspection by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

If all goes as expected, Newell said the station would be up and running by the second week in July. At that time, an open house would be held for the public.

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