Water District would replace ancient pipes
Oak Bluffs water superintendent Deacon Perotta and the board of water commissioners are in the unenviable position of being the warm-up act when voters convene for a special and annual town meeting Tuesday evening.
The water commissioners will ask voters to approve $1.1 million in borrowing needed to replace water mains that are more than a century old in the Campground. The Oak Bluffs Water District's annual meeting begins at 6:30 pm.
Another article seeks voter approval to borrow $1.5 million to repair and replace water mains along Circuit Avenue and Lake Avenue. The water commissioners say both must pass for any of the work to be done.
The four-article warrant also includes a request for voter approval of the water district pay scales, a topic that generated considerable debate at the Tisbury annual town meeting Tuesday night. Tisbury and Oak Bluffs share administrative costs.
Mr. Perotta explained that all water mains are owned and maintained by the water district, and the work must be done to keep a system that is of benefit to the entire town in good shape. Aged water pipes result in increased pumping costs, diminished water quality, costly repairs and treatments, and diminished fire-fighting capabilities, the costs of which are shared by all rate payers, Mr. Perotta said.
In a letter discussing the need for the project, Mr. Perotta said that the water mains in the Camp Meeting Association were installed in 1890. "These are the original water system mains in excess of 115 years old," he wrote. "The useful life of water mains is approximately 50 to 70 years."
Mr. Perotta said that borrowing the total amount needed for article one and two would mean a rate increase of 8 percent or an additional $25 on an annual water bill.