Water Commission denies new commercial hook-ups

Fri, 12/17/2021 - 1:30pm

The Joint Water and Sewer Commission has denied three new requests for water allocations. All of the requests were for commercial users.

When the available water allocation for the summer of 2022 was set at the November meeting, there were only 5,135 gallons per day available. Twenty-five percent of that is reserved for public facilities, and the rest, 3851 gallons is for residential and commercial customers. “I want to point out, it brings us very close to the end,” said Water Superintendent John Breunig. (Contrast that with the available sewer allocation amount of 113,333
gallons per day.)
Breunig has been raising the alarm for months now, especially as the method by which the utilities calculate the allocation amounts uses average gallons consumed from July through the end of September, distorting the real picture. Breunig says that the water company has no problem providing enough water in September, and so that month should be left out of the equation. When he did that earlier this summer, he found that the water company, had essentially, oversold the available water for July and August.

At this point in time, the water bottleneck is not because of any known lack of water in the ground, but in the ability of the water company to pump, treat, and store it.

Existing customers get priority, and if they go over their water allocations for the summer they may choose to apply the amount they are penalized towards the purchase of more allocation. At the meeting on December 8, four existing customers were granted requests for additional, minor amounts of allocation, ranging from 22 to 130 gallons per day. Three were residential, and one, the “Thomas Property,” is public.
A request from the Surfside, dubbed an “expansion” was outright denied, on the basis that the amount requested, at 4507 gallons per day, was more than the total available.

In August, when the Surfside owners’ project was before the Historic District Commission, architect Glen Gardiner told that board that the existing garage would be turned into a kitchen to “accommodate guests.” But Breunig said the Surfside water application included a 120-seat restaurant.

Requests for two new commercial connections to the water system were also denied – for now, although one residential applicant that requested 207 gallons per day was approved.

The Seacrest Inn would like to join the system as they had well contamination problems during the summer, and according to manager Marty Milner, had to shut the inn at the bottom of High Street down six times. “We failed on poop,” he said. Their request was for 1,359 gallons per day.

Island Home, with a request of 1,413 gallons per day was also denied. David Houseman was representing the new owners of the inn on Beach Avenue. The property will be undergoing extensive reconstruction, and will not actually need the water in 2022, but they would like to install the lines when they do the foundation.
Breunig has proposed a feasibility study including exploring a new source of water (there are currently six wells) and the possibility of more storage. “This is moving very fast,” said Breunig. “I’ve had more requests in the past year than in my whole career.”
Breunig hopes the feasibility study, which is being done along with town engineer Jim Geremia, will be finished in April.