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Bethel To Vote In Referendum For Water Department Upgrades

Berry School in Bethel is one of three sites to vote on the referendum.
Berry School in Bethel is one of three sites to vote on the referendum. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

BETHEL, Conn. -- Voters in town will held to the polls Tuesday, Sept. 13, to cast ballots in a referendum to consider accepting a loan for the Bethel Water Department.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at:

  • Bethel Town Hall, at 1 School St.
  • Berry School at 200 Whittlesey Drive, and
  • Stony Hill Fire House, at 59 Stony Hill Road.

The referendum is on work slated to upgrade the Hoyts Hill pump station project and to replace the existing municipal Well No.1 and Well No.2 located at the Maple Avenue well field.

According to a post on the town's website, the Hoyts Hill pump station is a critical water-pumping facility that provides water pressure for fire protection and residential water service to a large portion of the town.

The Hoyt’s Hill pump station is approaching the end of its service life, and water output from the Maple Avenue wells, which were installed in 1962, has diminished. The project will bring the Maple Avenue wellfield back to its full permitted original capacity.

Both projects are necessary to ensure an uninterrupted supply of drinking water as well as to continue to meet all state water quality regulations.

Neither of these two projects require any expenditure of Bethel taxpayer funds. There will be no impact on the town budget nor will they affect property taxes.

A vote is still required via referendum under the town charter for any project over $1 million.

The funding is provided by a loan from the Connecticut Department of Public Health Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund, a program specifically designed to help small town water systems maintain critical infrastructure. The loan will be repaid through Water Department billings only.

The term of the loan is 20 years at an interest rate of 2.9 percent.

The projects afect only customers of the Bethel Water Department, or about half of the town’s population. Homeowners with private wells and homes in the Stony Hill neighborhood, which is supplied by the Aquarion Water Co., are not impacted.

All town residents are able to vote.

"It is extremely important that voter approval is secured. These two projects are not optional," the town of Bethel said in a letter to voters. "A failure of the Hoyt’s Hill pumps would result in an immediate loss of water to several neighborhoods, and high water demand this summer is already outpacing the Maple Avenue wells production capacity."

The contractor for both projects is ready to begin immediately upon voter approval, with completion expected within six months for the Maple Avenue wellfield project and 12 months for the Hoyt’s Hill pump station upgrade project.

The cost of the Hoyt’s Hill pump station upgrade is $1,367,075. The Maple Avenue well field improvements will be $995,867.

Voters with questions can call the Bethel Water Department at 203-794-8549.

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