Red Hook village juggling well problems

The Red Hook village board is making changes to its ongoing $9 million water project.

With $57,000 left over from Phase 1 of the water system upgrade, the village has been testing four abandoned wells, to see if they can be used to boost future production. These wells — numbers 2, 5, 6 and 8 — have turned out to be problematic.

At the Jan. 13 board meeting, Robert Flores, of C.T. Male Associates an architectural/engineering firm with offices in Red Hook, reported on the new tests of wells 5 and 6. He said that the flow is very good, but the iron content is much too high. The only way to deal with that would be to buy a small, mobile filtration plant (or package plant), which would cost $220,000, he added.

Village Mayor Ed Blundell was shocked at the price, because at the Dec 18 meeting, the quoted price for such a fix had been $160,000. Flores said the latest test showed the iron content was four times higher than before, so the container for the filtration plant would have to be twice as big.

Deputy Mayor Brent Kovalchik then suggested drilling a new gravel well, which would cost $120,000. Flores agreed.

The village had also applied for a $150,000 county block grant to restore wells 2 and 8, but at the Jan. 13 meeting, Flores said testing showed both wells had very low flow. The county Department of Health ruled, before the testing, that the wells either have to be used or sealed.

According to Flores, the cost of sealing both wells could range from $10,000 to $16,000, while the cost of restoring them would be $45,000.

Blundell then reported that the block grant did not come through, adding “In a way, it might be better for all of us since these wells did not perform well.”

At Blundell’s suggestion, the board agreed to cap wells 2 and 8, which are at the wellfield on Fire House Lane, but reserved decision on wells 5 and 6, which are east of the village, until they figure out their next steps in this process.

Phase 1 of the upgrades, budgeted at $1.2 million, was completed in December. New flow meters were put on existing wells; all the old village water meters were replaced with new ones, and the wells were tested for their capacity to improve the water supply.

Phase 2 of the project, estimated at $3.9 million, will focus on the old water lines in the village and the cost will include all the road repairs associated with it.

Blundell spoke to the Observer about the Phase 2 plans.

“The pipes under the southwest quadrant of the village all date from 1937,” he said, showing a photo of a recently broken pipe that had a hole the size of a quarter where the pipe meets the valve.

According to Blundell, Phase 2 will replace all the main pipes in that part of the village. No start date has been set.

Phase 3 of the project, budgeted at approximately $4 million, will focus on distribution system improvements, according to Kovalchik.

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