Water Treatment Plant Referendum This Saturday

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The City of Milford will be holding a referendum on Saturday, November 19 from 12 noon to 8 pm at City Hall for the complete rehabilitation of the City Water Plant and the City owned office building located on Washington Street. The primary focus of the project will be rebuilding the water plant but the project will also include the demolition of the offices located in front of the water plant to meet production needs for the City. The City of Milford expects to move the billing staff back downtown in this location to increase accessibility to residents.

City officials state that the facility is outdated and has outlived its useful life. The new Replacement Project will replace an existing non-producing well and perform upgrades to the well control system on a number of the City’s existing well to improve efficiency.

“There are leaks coming into the plant from the Mispillion River and it cannot be determined where the water is coming from or going,” commented Erik Retzlaff, Consulting Engineer from Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc. “It will cost the City more money to learn how to fix it than it will be to replace the entire plant.”

The water treatment facility was originally used as part of the City’s Electrical Generation Plant and after its abandonment in the 1950’s was converted to a water treatment facility. The last upgrade that was done to the building occurred in the mid-1980’s. The condition of several areas of the building has deteriorated since then including the piping, reservoir and the building itself.

“We have had contractors refuse to repair the facility because they are afraid of further damaging the facility,” commented City Manager David Baird. “The building was not really made for this purpose so the entire building is piecemeal together.”

City officials agree about the importance of the Washington Street Water Treatment Facility noting that it is the most centrally located facility in the City’s water system and is a main source of water for downtown Milford. Officials also state that if the facility was simply abandoned it would “compromise the City’s ability to perform routine maintenance on other facilities and negatively impact the water quality in downtown Milford.”

Last month City Council voted to move forward on the Washington Street Water Plant Project and to take advantage of a $4,000,000 Loan and Grant package from the State’s Office of Drinking Water through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.  The terms of the financing are $4,000,000 loan with 35% principal forgiveness.  The loan is broken down to a $2.6 million loan and $1.4 million grant.  The loan will be issued at a rate of 1% for a 20 year term.

The project must receive public approval through the referendum which is scheduled for Saturday, November 19 from 12 noon to 8 pm at City Hall. According to the Charter of the City of Milford the referendum must be set at least 30 days after the approval and no more than 60 days after the approval. Eligibility of Milford residents for the referendum will be the same as annual elections. For more information on the project or the referendum process contact City Hall by phone at 302-424-3712 or in person at 201 S. Walnut Street in downtown Milford. Absentee ballots may be filled out at City Hall by eligible voters during office hours before Saturday, November 19.

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