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Heuvelton researches funding for new water tower

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HEUVELTON — Faced with a water tower that would cost more to repair than replace, the village is attempting to move forward with plans to tear down the old structure and upgrade to one better suited to the community’s needs.

“The physical condition of the tower is less than ideal,” said Mayor Barbara A. Lashua.

However, funding for the project has been difficult to come by. Because of relatively low rates — it costs $260 a year for a household to access unlimited water — Mrs. Lashua said “the village will qualify for no grant money.”

As a result, the village must finance the project on its own.

Besides the tower, the village has outlined a two-stage plan to overhaul its entire water system. Beginning with a new water tower, the village hopes to make upgrades on Lisbon Street and parts of Water Street. Phase two would include identifying a secondary water source besides the well now supplying the village and upgrading the rest of the water system.

With phase one estimated at $2.9 million, the entire project would total about $5.8 million — a hefty fee for a small village to carry on its own. The water tower itself will cost $1.3 million.

But Mrs. Lashua said the time, especially for the water tower, is now.

The current tower is capable of holding 100,000 gallons of water, while the village uses 113,000 gallons a day.

“It’s almost not a storage tank,” she said, explaining it is important for water to sit in the tower for some time to ensure it is exposed to purifying chlorine.

Asked to identify what stage the village is at with the project, Mrs. Lashua said it is “researching funding” with no definite groundbreaking date.

“Engineering is all but completed,” she said.

But finding a funding source with a palatable interest rate has been challenging. “We’re weighing our options,” she said.

The village has a voluntary water conservation program that asks residents to reduce their use because recent dry weather has threatened the well’s reserves.

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