FIRE DEPT WELL IN NEED OF REPLACEMENT
St. Germain's Fire Chief informed the Town Board this past October that the Fire Department high capacity well, now approximately 22 years old, has failed, is beyond repair, and needs to be replaced without delay. The estimated replacement cost was reported by the Chief to be approximately $80,000.
The primary purpose of the well is to re-fill tank trucks quickly during a structure fire requiring high water volume. That ability also lowers the fire insurance rating for the town resulting in reduced fire insurance rates for St. Germain property owners.
The Town Board was faced with three immediate concerns:
- The actual replacement well cost will likely be more than the estimated $80,000, perhaps substantially, as the estimate contained several uncertainties.
- State law requires towns to seek competitive bids for projects of this size.
- Shouldn't a high capacity well used as infrequently as this one should last longer than 22 years?
- A expense of this magnitude could not be absorbed in the Town's 2022 or 2023 budget.
In response to these concerns, the Town Board has sought the guidance of a professional engineering service to develop construction specifications for the new well, to obtain competitive bids from qualified well drillers, and to oversee construction.
Additionally, the combined efforts of the Town Clerk and Town Treasurer have resulted in identifying a grant funding source that, if the grant is awarded, will enable the Town Board to proceed with the project at a greatly reduced burden to the taxpayers.
In the meantime, other than from an extremely large fire event, the Town is not in peril by the well not being in service. Through mutual aid agreement, other fire departments also respond to St Germain structural fires and bring tank trucks of water with them. Furthermore, while slower and less convenient, several "dry hydrants" exist around St. Germain where fire departments can draw water from lakes and streams as they did before the high capacity well was installed 22 years ago.
The Town Board is moving as quickly on this unexpected project as possible and expects the new well to be functional sometime this winter.