Public meeting set for Bennington wastewater bond

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BENNINGTON — Voters and town officials will learn more later this month about a nearly $10 million bond to upgrade the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Engineers for the town will present details about the state-mandated project at the Select Board's next meeting on Aug. 28.Town Manager Stuart Hurd said this week. A public hearing on the vote is scheduled for Oct. 2. A bond vote is slated for Oct. 10.

The latest cost estimate is just under $10 million, Hurd told Select Board members Monday.

Engineers with Aldrich & Elliott of Waterbury, working for the town, will on Aug. 28 outline the project's scope, the cost and impact to the tax rate, Hurd said.

Chairman Tom Jacobs said members and the public would benefit from the session. The bond "is a big item," he said.

The town is under an "assurance of discontinuance" with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. A state order issued last August required the town to hire an engineer to assess the treatment plant on Harrington Road, which was built in 1962 and last overhauled in 1985.

The bulk of the problem stems from aging equipment: The plant suffered break-downs last summer that led to a putrid smell as well as multiple wastewater discharge violations. Multiple of the facility's 32 rotating biological contractor (RBC) units broke down, which officials said interrupted the treatment process and led to sewage not being aerated.

In other business, members approved borrowing funds to replace three pieces of heavy equipment. Members approved a $232,735 note to purchase a 2015 Hitachi excavator and 2018 International 7600 dump truck, for seven payments of about $33,250. A second note, for $75,607 at three payments of about $25,200, was for a F-550 dump truck.

Members also accepted a grant agreement resolution for providing a $345,000 Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) implementation grant for the Applegate biomass energy rehabilitation project. That project involves energy related upgrades to 104 apartments on Applegate Drive. The funds will be administered by the town, Shires Housing, Inc. and Housing Vermont.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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