Trustees are told project could cost $2 million; water source wouldn’t be available until 2016
The Saukville Village Board got the ball rolling last week in the lengthy and costly process of drilling a new municipal water well.
By the time the well is brought online, officials expect the process will cost nearly $2 million, including engineering and construction costs.
Because the village’s water utility is supported by customers, that expense is expected to result in a significant increase in local water bills.
The village’s accounting firm, Schenck, prepared a rate impact analysis of financing the new well over 20 years and projected that water rates would have to increase by 12%.
The Public Service Commission would hold a public hearing before such a large increase could be put into effect. Officials said such a state rate review could take as long as six months.
The rate hike would mean the cost of 1,000 gallons of water would increase from $2.60 to $2.91.
Following that assumption, Village Treasurer Vicki Lee projected that the average quarterly residential water bill (assuming water usage between 12,000 and 20,000 gallons) would increase by between $10.19 and $12.67.
According to those projections, more substantial commercial water users (using between 200,000 and 600,000 gallons of water a quarter) would see their bills increase between $64.50 and $188.64.
To implement such a large rate hike, approval is required from the PSC.
Village officials noted that the utility’s last water rate increase came in 2010.
Prior to being able to start the construction of the new well and pumping station, the village must also provide documentation to the PSC justifying the project.
While such well projects were previously approved by the state without much review, there are new requirements that the village show efforts are being made to reduce water consumption and eliminate leaks in the system lines, and that consideration has been given to getting water from other municipalities.
Those added requirements are not expected to block well construction, but will add even more time to the process.
Talks about the need for a new well began in 2003 when Well No. 1 began having problems. It was brought online in 1941.
The village currently has three other working wells.
Two test borings for possible well sites have been drilled, with the most favorable location being in the Dekora Woods Business Park.
The village’s engineering firm, Ruekert & Mielke, received a single bid for drilling a test well, but it was below the $300,000 estimate.
Presuming approval comes soon from the PSC, work on the test well could be done next month.
If the quality and quantity of the water from that well are as expected, construction of a production well could begin early next year. That work would be completed by summer.
Another state review, this time by the Department of Natural Resources, will be needed for the related pumping station design.
According to the engineering firm, if approvals come through, the pumping station construction could begin by next fall and be completed as early as summer of 2016.
The utility report was given to the Finance Committee to keep trustees aware of the various steps and the ultimate cost of the proposed well.
“This is a large proposal for the community, and we wanted to make sure everyone is aware of what the impact would be,” Village Administrator Dawn Wagner told trustees.
“We would not be going through this if we didn’t have the need,” added Village President Barb Dickmann.
The preliminary well bid will be acted on at the Village Board’s Nov. 18 meeting.