Sherman selectmen seeks salty solutions
SHERMAN — The town is closer to finding a solution to the salty wells that have been a problem for several years.
This Thursday, the selectmen will discuss and possibly decide between either drilling a large well by town hall and trenching the water to Sherman Playhouse and the firehouse or drilling a new well to serve the Sherman Playhouse and the firehouse independently.
Water was undrinkable at various points over the past few years at the town’s five wells due to the levels of sodium and chloride, which together create salt, exceeding state limits. The well at Mallory Town Hall and one at the Sherman School are now within those standards, but town officials are still trying to fix the other ones. This prompted a study last year.
“The main thing we’re trying to do is bring good water into the EMS building,” said Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe.
A special meeting was held on Saturday to go over the different options with the selectmen, the well driller who would probably create the trench and Gary Robbins, a professor at the University of Connecticut who completed the well study.
The road salt used during the winter is most likely the cause for the poor water quality, but it’s unclear how the salt runoff is entering the town wells. Some possible explanations could be fractures in the well casing or the manhole cover not completely sealing the opening, according to the report.
Lowe said while it will be good to have drinkable water at the firehouse, a big concern is the possible corrosion the salty water is creating for the valves and pipes there. He estimates the town has spent close to $50,000 replacing plumbing there.
He said he doesn’t have hard figures for the different options yet but estimates a new well by the playhouse and firehouse will cost between $10,000 and $12,000. The trenching from a well at Mallory Town Hall to those buildings would probably cost about $25,000. All three buildings are in the same complex.
“We’re not talking a lot of money,” he said.
The biggest challenge is knowing if the wells will produce a good water supply, Lowe said.
“There is a little bit of rolling the dice all around,” he said.
It costs about $5,000 to $8,000 to drill a well and just drilling one by the playhouse and firehouse could answer a lot of questions, Lowe said.
The trenching option presents an even bigger and possibly more expensive unknown because construction crews could encounter ledge and have to drill through it.
Lowe expects the work to take about a week to complete but said it will be longer to get the needed approval from the town’s health department and the state.
“Our biggest hurdle will be getting the paperwork and approval through public health and then the state,” he said. “If either one of these options happen, they are going to be considered a water company and water companies have more stringent codes.”