Waitsfield’s wastewater project planning work will prioritize designing the system for Waitsfield Village to maximize the town’s eligibility for subsidies from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund program.
The wastewater planning team, after meeting with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, learned that engineering specifically for Waitsfield Village first, would increase the amount of funding from the revolving loan fund from $51,000 to the full amount of $125,000. The maximum grant funding amount is only available for projects that support wastewater within, a state designated area or its associated quarter mile buffer. This means that state subsidy for design is currently only available for the Waitsfield Village designated village center area and the associated buffer.
The estimated cost of final design engineering for the first 30% of the municipal wastewater system is $182,000. That would leave the town with $57,000 to fund for this phase which the planning team told the select board on September 25 could be covered by ARPA funds. The 60% and 90% final design increments would have their own costs and eligibilities for state and/or federal funding.
This work comes as the town continues work on developing a municipal waste water system to serve Waitsfield Village and Irasville, providing enough capacity to support existing homes and businesses with additional capacity for infill development and a moderate amount of growth. Current planning calls for developing a tertiary treatment plant on the town-owed Munn site, south of Irasville on Route 100.
To date a feasibility study for such a system, as well as the preliminary engineering study – all conducted by Dubois and King engineers -have been funded with fully forgivable grants. As the town moves into actually designing the system, its planning team continues to work on maximizing funding eligibility. The estimated price tag for the entire project is $15.6 million.
At this week’s meeting, the select board reviewed and authorized the draft engineering services agreement (ESA) between the town and Dubois and King for the 30% final design to move forward. When work on the 30% final design is done, the town will advance to the 60% final design phase and in that phase will take up the tasks associated with wastewater planning for Irasville.
At that same meeting the wastewater project planning team asked the select board to reach out to the Mad River Valley Planning District about renewing a memorandum of understanding between the town and the planning district that was executed six months ago, to run from March 30,2023 to March 2024.
That memorandum of understanding details how the planning district’s executive director Josh Schwartz will work with Waitsfield and its wastewater project planning team to help shepherd the project through design, engineering, funding and ultimately a town vote.
We are six months into the terms of the MOU and it is an appropriate time to evaluate the work of MRPVD staff in the capacity as outlined and begin to think about how to proceed with future agreements as project timelines come into clearer focus,” town administrator Annie Decker-Dell’Isola wrote in a memo to the select board.
She said that she and town zoning administrator JB Weir (both serve on the planning team with Schwartz and others) agree that Schwartz’s work on this project as project coordination team lead has been essential that the project would not be feasible to be carried out by town staff and volunteer hours alone.
“He brings a level of organization and professionalism to the project that allow him to
balance many project components and ensure the team as a whole stays on task, while maintaining strong relationships with a number of project partners and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal level,” she continued in her memo.