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HU voters will be asked to approve $425,000 bond to upgrade water

On Town Meeting Day in March, voters will be asked to approve via Australian ballot an article authorizing Harwood Union (HU) to build water supply improvements in an amount not to exceed $425,000, subject to reduction from available grants-in-aid, loan forgiveness and other financial assistance, to be financed over a term not to exceed 20 years.

Currently, Harwood's water supply is not large enough to meet the school's needs. To make up for the shortage, Harwood has been paying upwards of $10,000 per semester to haul water to the building from other sources.

Hauling water is only supposed to be a temporary solution to a supply problem, but the state has allowed Harwood some leniency to continue hauling water until it finds a suitable solution. If the water supply improvements' article is not approved by the public in March, however, Harwood will have to find the money to connect the wells from somewhere else.

What the school plans to do, if the bond is approved, is to replace existing low-yield, poor-quality wells with new bedrock wells that exceed the system's demand and reduce or eliminate treatment requirements.

According to a January 2014 preliminary report from Otter Creek Engineering, addressing the shortfall in supply is critical to the school's operation. The report noted that water purchases again will be necessary in the spring of 2014. The system's maximum daily demand is approximately 9,000 gallons per day or 12.5 gallons per minute, based on a 12-hour-per-day pumping period.

The school has been trying for a number of years to address its water supply issues through drilling of additional wells, deepening wells and hydro-fracking. Consideration was also given to the development of surface water supplies, including the use of a nearby stream and fire pond. In early 2013 Otter Creek Engineering (OCE) completed a comprehensive hydrogeological analysis of property owned by the school and identified a number of possible sites for wells based on fracture trace analysis.

The sites were prioritized and two wells were successfully drilled and tested during the summer of 2013. These two wells are located in the forest south of the school 2,540 feet and 2,260 feet from the point of entry into the building. After evaluating potential routes, it was concluded that the least expensive and least disruptive route would be to follow the VAST trail, along the perimeter of the athletic fields and across the existing parking lot. This routing minimizes tree clearing and disturbance of the athletic field while minimizing pipe length and parking lot disturbance.

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