Two towering 844,000-gallon water tanks are nearing completion on Peaceable Ridge after five months of construction.
It’s part of a long-range effort to improve the Aquarion Water Company’s system in town. First Selectman Rudy Marconi said the company is also talking with the town about extending water lines out to Craigmoor Road — and possibly on to Ridgefield High School — and about putting in fire hydrants along North Street.
The more than $2-million tank project, replacing a lone, aging 488,000-gallon tank with the two new ones, will increase storage capacity on Peaceable Ridge, the top of Aquarion’s system in town.
“They’ll get more out of this, for sure,” said Clint Wathen, superintendent on the job for Caldwell Tanks of Louisville, Ky. “It’s a little bit taller than the old one and it’s got a lot more water.”
The new tanks are 42 feet in diameter, and close to 100 feet tall, according to Wathen.
“High water’s 85 feet, so the top of the tank’s probably about 90,” he said.
The added capacity will strengthen the water system and make it more resilient, according to Mark Fois, Aquarion’s manager of project.
“With more water stored it goes down less sharply and less often, so the benefit will be somewhat invisible, initially. But under high water demand our water system will be more stable for a longer duration,” he said.
“This is not a magic bullet, as a major fire or major water main break can cause serious problems for pressure and supply,” he said..
But the increased storage should lessen the impact problems like that have on regular customers elsewhere along the lines, he said.
“The fire department will have more water to pull upon in a fire,” Fois said.
“So the private customer will be able to continue to use their water when the fire department is fighting a fire around the corner, whereas before major water main breaks and fires would cause water pressure to be reduced in many areas of Ridgefield.”
The tanks will next have to be painted, and are likely to come on line later this summer, said Fois.
Marconi said Monday, June 15, that he would be meeting with representatives of Aquarion to discuss other improvements.
“Number one, a discussion about the possibility of extending the Aquarion public water main to Ridgefield High School,” he said.
“The second will be the discussion of the installation of fire hydrants along North Street.”
Several years ago the town extended water lines from Copps Hill area out North Street to the site of Scotland and Barlow Mountain elementary schools, where wells showed high sodium levels.
Now in planning is an extension of the water lines from the elementary schools’ site out to Craigmoor Road. And, Aquarion has asked if the town would be interested in having the lines go out to Ridgefield High School.
“As far as bringing it to the high school, about 10, 12 years ago, we installed new wells located down by Tiger Hollow, to hopefully eliminate a previous coliform problem during the warm summer months — this problem being generated from Lake Mamanasco,” Marconi said.
“To explain that: The goose population impacts Mamanasco, that water travels through fissures in the rock below the surface, eventually traveling to the old wells at the RHS site, thereby creating the issue.”
The wells worked, but extending the lines may be worth studying.
“Installing a public water supply will eliminate that problem from ever happening again,” Marconi said.
Adding fire hydrants on North Street is something the town looked at before — back when the line was extended and the road was dug up.
“At the time of construction of the water main, the water company would not allow the installation along North Street due to unknown water pressure issues,” Marconi said.
“And, although I haven’t heard this yet, I’d assume that because there are now two new water tanks at the Peaceable Ridge site, instead of the previous one, that the additional tank may allow for the installation of the hydrants at this time.”
Marconi didn’t know what kind of proposal would be put forward to distribute the cost of line extensions and fire hydrant installations.
“We haven’t discussed that yet,” he said.
** Source: Written by Macklin K. Reid, The Ridgefield Press