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A list of solutions to reduce the concentration of minerals in the town’s water was to be presented at an informational meeting at the Middle School of Plainville on Wednesday, May 15.
“We are encouraging customers of Valley Water … who are dissatisfied with the quality of their water to attend this meeting to understand the study,” said Town Manager Robert Lee, who was to moderate the presentation. “If only a couple people show up, maybe that’s an indication that it’s not a big deal.”
While so-called hard water doesn’t pose a health hazard, according to state regulators, it can leave a residue on dishes or damage appliances like faucets and laundry washers.
Representatives from Valley Water Systems, the town’s private water utility, analysts from Tighe & Bond, the consultant hired by the utility to study the hard water problem, and the state health department and Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority also were expected to attend the informational meeting.
A report drafted by Tighe & Bond was to be presented at the meeting. The study centered on reaching a threshold of 150 milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter of water in town.
A sample of the water from Valley Water Systems’ well near Johnson Avenue had 194 milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter, while its Woodford Avenue well had 223 milligrams per liter, according to the report.
Water sampled from a connection with the New Britain Water Department near Trumbull Avenue had 55 milligrams per liter, leading Tighe & Bond to suggest a few options involving blending New Britain water with the local supply.
Currently, that connection is offline unless more water is needed than the wells can provide alone.
Tighe & Bond’s recommendation is that Valley Water Systems install treatment equipment at both of Plainville’s wells, which would bring all of the town’s water down to its hardness target.
However, with a $3.66 million cost up front, followed by almost $400,000 in expenses annually, this is also the most expensive of the five main options laid out in the report.
“Treating at both wellfields is the only alternative that achieves the target hardness throughout the system. In addition, it provides VWS the flexibility to design and operate the system to achieve a lower target hardness concentration, if desired,” the report states.
The cheapest option found was to purchase two-thirds of Plainville’s water supply from New Britain, the maximum the connecting pipes can handle, and blend it with Plainville’s water. For an upfront cost of $727,000 and $141,000 annually thereafter, Valley Water Systems could bring half the water supply to its hardness target, centered around Trumbull Avenue.
But this option would subject Plainville customers to possible rate increases from the New Britain Water Department and would require state evaluation to ensure that the water sources could not interact in a way that would corrode pipes and threaten lead or copper contamination.