The Town of Pomfret is hoping plumbing contractors in the area might begin developing a simple fee structure for private citizens located in Phase I of the water district as they seek to plan costs to connect their homes to the incoming water lines.
The town council met Wednesday night in a special meeting initially scheduled to address changes to zoning records, but discussion primarily focused on the implementation of the water district instead.
Town Supervisor Don Steger said there is no provision in the water district contract that requires any residents to use a town-approved plumbing contractor to connect their homes to the water district lines, but the residents are responsible to connect from their homes to the road.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
The Town of Pomfret hosted engineer Rob Klavoon from Wendel Companies at a special meeting Wednesday night to explain details related to implementing the water district Phase I.
"They have to get their own plumbers," Councilman Scott Johnston stated.
"As a town, I don't feel like we can endorse one particular company or another," Councilman David Penharlow told the board. "It's not our place to recommend or make an endorsement," he said.
Because each connection will take place on private property and the cost will be the responsibility of the homeowner, the town can't request proposals or bids on behalf of homeowners. However, several council members noted residents in the district may be able to save money on connection costs if a contractor was willing to offer discounted rates for doing work on multiple homes on a given road, as an example.
"I'm hoping some big outfit will come in and make a flat offer to everyone," Steger said.
At the meeting, the council hosted Rob Klavoon, engineer with Wendel Companies, the firm handling the implementation of the water district. Klavoon told the board it was important for any plumbing contractors connecting homes to the lines to understand the time frame of the project once it's fully developed. "I don't want people spending a lot of money and have the lines just sit there," he said. He also noted theft could be problematic with copper pipe run to the road which isn't connected in a timely manner. Further, he explained copper lines were not necessary; homeowners could have polyethelene (PE) installed at a much lower cost.
Much of the discussion surrounded the requirements and flexibility home owners would have in making decisions about pipe. "We aren't going to size the lines for them," Klavoon said, meaning the homeowners had the choice of running pipe diameter of their choice. At an earlier meeting, he told the board houses farther from the road may benefit from pipe of a wider diameter, but the decision would be the homeowner's. "The meter we give them will fit whatever size pipe they put in," he said.
Homeowners with houses over 150 feet from the road will have a greater expense, because the meter will be required to be placed in a meter pit near the roadside. The district will pay for the meter, which will be waterproof and contain a special transmitter, but the homeowner must pay for the pit construction. Klavoon told the board, "That will cost plus or minus $600 ... somewhere around that figure."
Commercial water customers will face an entirely different set of circumstances based on their business type and water usage. "Those businesses will have to put in back flow protectors," and other devices depending on their existing sprinkler systems and other requirements, some of which are dictated by agencies such as the Department of Health, according to Klavoon. "That is outside of the scope of the district. It will have to be determined by their own engineers." He also said the commercial customer would be responsible for purchasing their own meters and have them inspected and maintained annually.
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