BENNINGTON — A new Morgan Spring truck filling station on Main Street — to replace one in a residential area near the Recreation Center — is close to completion.
According to town assistant director of public works Larry Gates, “The project is moving forward. As of today, they are installing the 6-inch plastic pipe from Morgan Spring to the new filling station location on Main Street.”
The work, being performed by Casella Construction, includes installing close to 900 feet of water line from the current filling station to the new facility on a lot across from Jon E. Suds laundromat at 748 Main St., or Route 9.
The town, which for years has sold water from the abundant source to a drinking water bottler, had sought other options for truck fill-ups in light of complaints from Bradford Street residents. The trucks now operate in a tight turnaround space near the Rec Center tennis courts.
“The water main is expected to be completely installed by the end of next week,” Gates said in an email, “and then it will be pressure tested, chlorinated and bacteria sampled. We still have some electrical work to do inside the new filling station. Some of the electrical components, such as the PLC (programmable logic controller), and the actuated valve have had extremely long lead times and is going to be the holdup.”
He added, “We hope to have the project done and allowing trucks to fill from that site mid-June.”
Casella will continue working on Bradford Street through next Wednesday, with the street being closed, and then will move to Main Street. Gates said there will be one-lane traffic on Main Street next Thursday and Friday.
NEW WATER DEAL
In September 2021, the Select Board approved an agreement with Primo Water North America for the sale of Morgan Spring water that includes a higher per-gallon rate than the prior deal and $500,000 in upfront money toward relocating the truck fill-up facility.
Resident complaints were focused on the large vehicles entering and exiting the loading site, where they are forced to back in from Bradford Street. The Main Street location will have more room for vehicles and allow a second truck to park while waiting for access to the water connection.
According to the agreement with Primo Water, the new loading station would be capable of filling a 7,000-gallon tanker within 22 minutes.
Town Manager Stuart Hurd said of the contract that it called for Primo Water to pre-purchase water to provide the town with $500,000, which could go toward relocation of the access site for trucks. The total cost of the new pumping facility, he said, was estimated at $670,000, with the balance of $170,000 to be covered through town reserve funds.
The company will receive Morgan Spring water at the current price of $0.0095 per gallon for the first five years of the agreement, Hurd said, but that cost would move up to $0.015 per gallon afterward.
There is also an annual 3 percent price escalator clause in the contract that will kick in after five years.
The Primo Water agreement includes three renewal periods of five years each, but the discounted rate would end after the first five years. The company would have priority but not exclusive access among vendors to the spring water for the initial five-year period.
The agreement also sets a minimum water draw from Morgan Spring of five million gallons a year and a maximum of 15 million gallons annually.
Morgan Spring is the town’s backup water supply, after Bolles Brook in Woodford. The Morgan Spring yield has been estimated at 1,500 gallons per minute.