Brewer, Bangor water backup system started

6.16.2009 – Both Bangor and Brewer have only one water source, so having a backup plan in place is important.

Bangor installed an 18-inch water main under the Penobscot Bridge a decade ago as an emergency backup system, and a second backup system — the new Route 9 Interconnection Facility — was started on Monday at a location on Rooks Road.

“We’ll be able to share water back and forth during an emergency” once the facility is complete, Mike Riley, Brewer Water superintendent, said recently.

The interconnect is a collaborative effort by the Brewer Water Department and the Bangor Water District, to connect transmission mains that lie about 65 feet from each other at the Rooks Road site with a new 16-inch underground line.

The project, and another to put in a new 24-inch pipe into Brewer’s water source, is being paid for with $810,000 in federal stimulus funds, Riley said. He said since Bangor paid for the first backup system, it only made sense for Brewer to construct the second one.

Brewer gets its water from the William Hayes Water Treatment Facility at Hatcase Pond in Dedham and the Bangor Water District gets its from Floods Pond in Otis. The city owns some 1,000 acres around the pond.

The Rooks Road site was identified as the top candidate for an emergency interconnect in a mutual-aid study conducted in 2003, which was funded by five area water utilities, including Bangor and Brewer.

The Penobscot Bridge backup system could supply 1 million gallons of water over the course of a day, Riley said, adding that Brewer and the neighboring communities that rely on the city for water, on average, use 800,000 gallons daily. Bangor, on the other hand, uses around 5 million gallons of water a day, so that system could cover only a portion of the Queen City’s needs, said Kathy Moriarty, Bangor Water District general manager.

“The beauty of this site is that it’s very close to both” Floods Pond and Hatcase Pond “and thus provides backup supplies that can reach the entirety of the other utilities’ distribution system,” she said in a statement.

Bangor also has a backup plan established with the Orono-Veazie Water District in case there is ever a need for emergency water, she has said.

The new interconnect only will make water supply reliability better, and will “allow both utilities to avoid the multimillion-dollar expense of developing backup supplies independently,” Riley said in a statement. “For a fraction of the cost of what it would take to pursue an emergency backup supply ourselves, we can take advantage of the close working relationship we have with Bangor Water.”

Lou Silver Inc. of Orono has been hired to construct the facility, which has a mid-October completion date.

A copyright story from the Bangor Daily News by Nok-Noi Ricker, Tuesday, June 16, 2009.