Up to $6.6 million to fix low pressure woes
Amherst has found that fixing its water pressure issue is going to be expensive.
Amherst has found that fixing its water pressure issue is going to be expensive. A consultant has said increasing water pressure at the top of Church and Willow Street could cost as much as $6.6 million.
AMHERST – Fixing water pressure issues in several parts of Amherst is going to come with a hefty price tag.
A study by CBCL has indicated the water pressure issues can be fixed for between $1.9 million and $6.6 million.
“All three options are quite costly and will have to be considered as part of the town’s long-term capital upgrade plans,” Coun. Robert Bird told council during its February session on Monday.
CBCL was tasked with investigating low pressure at the top of Church and Willow streets. The consultant was also asked to investigate fire flows in the downtown area, following the August 2012 fire that destroyed the Windsor and Black Block buildings.
During that fire, firefighters found themselves battling issues with water pressure, while many parts of town found they had little or no water pressure the day of the fire.
The options CBCL are recommending include constructing a booster station at $1.9 million, constructing a high pressure stand pipe near the existing reservoir at a cost of $2.3 million and building a new, higher reservoir at $6.6 million.
Bird said the existing reservoir is 35 years old.
“Although it has been kept in good condition, it may be nearing the end of its expected life span and constructing a new one may be the best option,” Bird said.
Town staff are now conducting a thorough inspection of the reservoir with the goal of identifying an expected replacement year.
As for fire flows, CBCL found the town meets the minimum recommended fire flows within the downtown. The consultant’s report suggested flows could be improved by replacing aged water mains on Church and Willow Street as those streets come up for reconstruction.
Coun. George Baker said it’s nice to get some concrete information on what’s required since the public has been complaining about water pressure for several years.
Mayor Robert Small said the information should help the town prepare its case for infrastructure funding and access funding from the gas tax fun.