2015-01-29 / Around Town

Firm to Estimate Costs of Water Expansion

By James Merolla

The Middletown Town Council has voted unanimously to authorize the town to hire the engineering firm of Weston & Sampson to provide assistance in the potential expansion of the public water supply to the east side.

The proposed contract – to estimate the costs, the scope and the problems of bringing improved drinking water from Newport and the lines to do it – will cost $15,300.

Weston & Sampson, based in Peabody,

Mass., oversees the engineering, designs, planning, permitting, construction, operation and maintenance of major water projects.

At its January meeting, Town Administrator Shawn Brown reminded the council that last year some 20 private wells on the east side of town were tested and found to possess dangerously high levels of nitrates, usually the runoff of fertilizers, stormwater and other contaminants associated with agriculture and outside pollutants.

Town Engineer Warren Hall has been working with the Newport Water Department and the Road and Utilities Committee to identify potential options for expanding the local water distribution system.

In a memo from Weston & Sampson on Jan. 13, the firm said Middletown had reached a point where it was necessary to “measure residents’ support for this project” and that specialized services, such as cost estimates and hydraulic models, needed to be established.

With council approval, the work will proceed in the coming weeks.

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