NORWICH – Tougher drinking water standards would require the city to build a new multi-million dollar filter plant in the next five to ten years, a city official confirmed Thursday.
Federal funding will have to cover most of the cost, city Public Works Superintendent Carl Ivarson said.
The city’s 104 year-old facility is currently in compliance with federal regulations, Ivarson explained, but the aging sand and stone filters would not meet the stricter particle and chlorine byproduct standards he expects will be implemented in or around 2013.
An official from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sets the water standards, did not respond to a request for confirmation of the possible regulation changes by press time this morning.
Public Works is proposing to locate the new filter plant just south of the city’s lower reservoir on state Rt. 23, less than one mile up the road from the current facility’s location.
Initial estimates put the cost of a new filter plant at $8.5 million. Ivarson said the city’s engineering firm is currently examining ways to bring the price down 40 to 50 percent. An updated engineer’s report will be presented Oct. 22 to the Common Council.
“We feel the project, in the $4 to $5 million range, is more acceptable for the city,” said Ivarson, “with substantial grants.”
Federal stimulus money for water projects could fund 50 to 70 percent of construction, Ivarson told a group of city officials and Third Ward Alderman John Deierlein Thursday. He says the city cannot afford to pay for the upgrade without federal assistance.
“If we can’t get substantial grant funding, the new facility would be cost prohibitive,” said Ivarson...