Citizens group calls to close Clapper

Town says upgrades necessary meet current and future water usage

Clapper Road Water Treatment Facility.

Clapper Road Water Treatment Facility. Photo by Alyssa Jung.

— According to the DPW commissioner, regulations specify the town’s water supply must exceed the demand of its peak month from within the past 10 years. In order to do this, water is needed from all four of the town’s resources: Clapper Road, the Albany water contract, the New Salem Water Treatment Plant and the New Salem Wells. If Clapper Road were to close, more water would need to be purchased from Albany in order to replace it.

Deyoe said the town now pays $3.78 per 1,000 gallons of water from Albany, versus a cost of $1.73 at Clapper Road.

Councilwoman Joanne Dawson asked if analysis had been done to show that the price of Clapper Road water would continue to be cheaper than Albany water once the upgrades to the facility were taken into account. Deyoe said such a study had been done in 2010, and he could provide the board with those numbers at a later date.

The decision to upgrade Clapper Road was made four years ago in order to ramp up output from the plant. Built in 1994, the plant can provide 6 million gallons of water per day, but the chlorine pre-treatment system limits capacity to 3 million gallons a day. With upgrades already needed because of new federal safety standards for drinking water, the project would allow the pre-treatment system to be expanded so the plant can reach its full capacity.

Deyoe said because the town would be producing more water, the cost of production would also then decrease.

By opening up Clapper Road’s output to more of the town, the replacement of the New Salem plant could be put off for years, even with new federal quality regulations in place since 2012. Uniting the systems would make it easier for the town to deal with summer usage peaks, as Clapper Road can respond more speedily to those demands. A study was initiated in November 2013 to look into the potential designs of upgrading that facility and come up with a more precise cost.

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