Those Wright-Pierce guys are looking smarter by the day.
At the trial, the town mocked a “windshield survey” that they had done prior to suggesting to the town that they investigate constructing a RIB system. WPs guys defended themselves by telling us all about land based disposal. They said that geologically speaking, there are few good options for disposing of effluent in Wolfeboro, and no cheap ones.
But looking at a topographical map of Wolfeboro, there was this glaring feature. A glacially formed hill that a trained geologist knows is composed of sand. Moreover, it was on a power-line right of way that connected the site to the town’s waste water treatment facility. They said it looked like a gold mine.
Nevertheless, they did the work to estimate the life cycle cost of other alternatives, but couldn’t come up with anything that could compare with a RIB system on that sandy hill.
After the town filed the RIB lawsuit, they engaged Underwood Engineers to take a fresh look at alternatives. The first cut was a “desktop study” (not to be confused with a “windshield survey”). 27 town owned sites were identified for a potential $5 million drip irrigation system. The town gave them some money and almost a year to develop the idea. We prepared a preliminary request with the state for $5.1 million in loans.
So this spring, they actually went out and looked at the land that they had identified in their “desktop study”. Big surprise! most of it was rocky, or saturated, or just inaccessible. Long story short only 10 of the original 27 sites appeared feasible to an engineer just walking the land and looking at it. Sort of a “windshield survey” without the windshield.
Now the new estimate is that spray irrigation on existing land might only be able to dispose of 16 to 32 million gallons per year. To put that in perspective, the town produces about 121 Mgal/year, and the existing 49 acres of spray fields dispose of about 31 Mgal/year.
So the drip system might be able to handle 13%-26% of the town’s current needs. That’s based on a guy walking around with a handheld gps and a notebook for two days. Oh, and they say “Most of the potential areas are remote from existing pumping stations and would require long supply/return pipes to be installed”.
But hey, we’re going to get a bag of money from Wright-Pierce so what’s the big deal right? Well, after the sewer fund is repaid for legal fees, the remainder just about covers what we owe on the RIB system.
Go back Jack and do it again…
Those Wright Pierce guys are looking smarter by the day.