Ownership of water tower is not desirous

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The county is offering to turn ownership of the water tower in the Lunenburg Commercentre over to Kenbridge. Now, the town council has to decide whether to accept it.

From the initial discussion at a council meeting last month, there is little reason to be receptive.

To begin with, use of the tank was discontinued at the behest of the state health department, which oversees water quality. Just bringing it back online could cause the town to fail a water quality test.

But the town’s biggest fear is the cost that could be associated with sole ownership. Basic maintenance, such as just painting it, could be as much as $200,000, said Councilman Danny Thompson, who is also the town’s water treatment chief operator.

The tower is a 500,000-gallon tank, and the town only uses approximately 110,000 gallons a day. Kenbridge also already has a 400,000-gallon tank it is using.

Reactivating the industrial park tank would also mean testing it — and that would mean draining the tank, cleaning the interior, inspecting it, testing the tank, refilling it and going through the process again before it can be refilled and used, Thompson told fellow council members.

“It’s going to cost you a fortune — outside of the tower — if you fail,” he warned.

The water has been in the tank nine years and is still clear, but just turning the valve to use it would mean the immediate issuing of a boil-water notice over the possibility of bacterial contamination in the drinking water system.

As it stands, the only reason the town would ever consider releasing that water into the system would be in the event of a major fire.

So far — and we know it is early in discussions — nothing has been said to make taking over sole ownership of the tower sound like a viable or good option for the town.

Yes, the tower and the water seem to be in good shape right now. And yes, one day, Kenbridge may need to replace the one it has now, or, should prosperity come, need another tower in town.

But it doesn’t seem like that day is today.