2007-12-20 / News

New water tank saves village from water crisis

By Tom Shevlin

Jamestown narrowly averted a potential water crisis last week after a malfunction at the water treatment plant forced the facility's closure for more than two days.

Public Works Director Steve Goslee said that a valve intake malfunction forced the closure, but because the new water tank on Howland Avenue had been brought online in the days prior, the town's water supply was not disrupted.

Goslee said that the fortuitous timing of the water tank coming online provided an example of the importance of redundancy in a system that has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation.

New Planning

Commissioners named

Sitting as the Water and Sewer Commission, town councilors approved the appointments of four applicants to the Planning Commission on Monday.

Appointed were: Richard Ventrone, a current member, to a twoyear term, filling the seat vacated by newly-elected Councilor Michael White; former town council and past Planning Commission member, Michael Schnack; former planning board member, Michael Swistak; and Alexandra Nickol, were also appointed to four-year terms.

Highway barn hookup discussed

Town Engineer Michael Gray presented commissioners with a preliminary proposal for a town water hookup to the new highway garage facility at Taylor Point. The facility, which is located outside of the town's urban water district, prompted a terse debate among commissioners over the viability of drilling a well at the site and the propriety of granting an extension in a rural district facility.

Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski, who noted that she is in no way against using a town water hookup, said that she was against granting the town special treatment in the permitting process.

Councilors Robert Sutton and William Kelly argued against spending any undue effort or money associated with drilling a well when a water line is located approximately 60 feet from the proposed building site.

"I can't imagine building a public building and hooking it up to a half-witted well," Sutton said. "It makes no sense."

Kelly agreed. "I don't want any additional costs and I don't want any additional surprises," he said. "The line exists. It's in the street. Connect it."

Erring on the side of caution, commissioners ultimately agreed to instruct Gray to approach Bill Munger, who operates a well at his nearby Conanicut Marine facility, for permission to conduct a pump test and water quality test to determine the viability of a well or the need for a town connection.

In other business

Commissioners again discussed the possibility of exploring alternative development projects for the town's property at 44 Southwest Ave.

Keiser reported that he was still in the process of collecting data to quantify the collective value of the island's water infrastructure as commissioners seek to get a better handle on the town's rising water rates.

Sutton asked that Goslee determine the viability of constructing a pull-off on North Main Road for access to a public right-of-way located behind the town's water treatment facility.

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