Waiting Could Elevate Plant Work By $500K

BERLIN – Waiting five more years to add enough wastewater capacity to Berlin’s sewer plant to reach 1 million gallons per day (gpd) could cost as much as $1.8 million versus the $1.3 million the expansion would cost in today’s dollars.

The price tag goes up to $1.6 million, under a low inflation rate of 2.5 percent.

The Berlin Mayor and Council asked earlier this month for more realistic numbers based on higher, inflation rates.

At 5 percent inflation, if the additional .25 mgd is added to the .75 mgd plant now in the planning stages, the added wastewater treatment capacity would cost $500,000 more than if the treatment capacity were added to the current project.

The expansion to .75 mgd will cost $9.2 million. If that project becomes a one mgd project this year, the cost goes up to $10.5 million. If the further expansion to one mgd must wait five years, the final price tag for the total expansion could come to $11 million.

More capacity must be added to serve demands already present in town, for infill lots and approved developments, before service to further building is considered.

But the cost of one mgd is just an intellectual exercise until the County Commissioners approve an amendment to the Worcester County Water and Sewer Plan allowing Berlin that much more sewer capacity.

The town has made no formal application or even given written notice of its intention to ask for more capacity, although it is no secret, having been widely spoken of in public meetings.

Councilwoman Paula Lynch raised the question once again Monday night at the town council meeting during the discussion of the zoning code text amendment for the Davis Farm.

That property is planned for 505 EDUs. That number, added to the 300 EDUs intended for the Purnell Crossing development, exceeds the new capacity granted by the

commissioners by 200 EDUs.

“We need one million gallons [per day],” Davis Farm project attorney Joe Moore said.

At least another 50,000 gallons per day would be needed just to fulfill sewer service commitments to those two properties.

“The County Commissioners only offered us and gave us 600 additional EDUs,” said Lynch.

Work on the expansion from .6 mgd to .75 mgd continues. Staff will interview three companies for engineering services next week: Davis, Bowen and Friedel; George Miles and Buhr; and URS Corp.