Valley Water: Not enough support to justify equipment in Plainville

Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 20:14
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

PLAINVILLE - Following a public information session Tuesday with Valley Water to discuss the town’s hard water, Town Manager Robert E. Lee said the town may pursue a formal petition for residents who want the issue addressed.

Lee said 30 residents attended the meeting, which was held at the Middle School of Plainville, and spoke about their problems with the town’s water. Also in attendance were officials from the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency and the Department of Health and officials from Valley Water Systems, which provides the town’s water.

“The residents who spoke had concerns about the hardness of the water and its impact on their lives,” he said. “He said that it has affected some of their fixtures and appliances. Most of them were very frustrated by the situation.”

Hard water can lead to scale formation inside pipes and may cause laundry machines and dishwashers to wear out more quickly. The taste and odor came from the presence of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium, which are consumed regularly as part of the human diet. This calcium may create a white residue on shower walls, dishes and glassware, but there is no negative health impact.

Valley Water Systems shared the results of a study on what it would take to remedy the situation.

They said that Tighe & Bond examined a plan to import water from New Britain and to use that to soften Plainville’s water. However, Lee said that it was determined that this was “not feasible from a dollar and cents standpoint.”

Instead, Valley Water determined that it will cost them $3.66 million to install equipment to fix the problem and $99,000 annually to operate that equipment. Lee said that Valley Water would add $400,000 to its operating budget every year for 20 years if they did so.

“They could lower the hardness from 190 to 300 milligrams per liter of calcium and magnesium, which is considered very hard, to 150, which is still hard water just not ‘very hard’,” said Lee. “To do this, they would have to raise user rates by 18%. This means that someone who is currently paying $30 a month for water would pay around $5.40 more a month. Those who were at the meeting said that it was worth it so they wouldn’t have to replace their dishwashers, faucets and other appliances. They thought it would be a small price to pay.”

However, Lee said that when Valley Water conducted a survey, 18% of customers responded. Of those, less than half said that they would be willing to pay more for water to reduce water hardness.

“Right now, Valley Water does not believe there is enough support in their customer base to justify installing the equipment to fix it,” he said. “Residents at the meeting said that they felt the survey was invalid.”

From here, Lee said he plans to continue to meet with PURA, the Department of Health and Valley Water officials. He plans to eventually create a petition for residents to sign if they support the upgrade.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Plainville on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 20:14. Updated: Wednesday, 15 May 2019 20:17.