New dead­line for Dixville Dam

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Dixville

The ci­ti­zens of Dixville, who are only around seven hun­dred in num­ber, can breathe a sigh of re­lief: the en­vi­ron­ment min­istry’s dead­line of De­cem­ber 31st, 2012, to do some­thing about the bro­ken dam has been ex­tended by two years. “At first we were told we would re­ceive a fine of $500,000 if we didn’t re­pair, take down or mod­ify the dam; that cer­tainly gave us a scare,” com­mented the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s new gen­eral man­ager, Syl­vain Benoit. For­tu­nately, the town was able to find an en­gi­neer to in­ves­ti­gate the dam be­fore the dead­line. “The en­gi­neer con­firmed that the dam posed no threat. He said it was im­pos­si­ble for it to break or to cause any dam­age,” added Mr. Benoit.

Although the town had known about the dead­line for a cou­ple of years, ef­forts to find fund­ing to re­con­struct the dam were un­suc­cess­ful. The coun­cil has also been fo­cus­ing on more press­ing mat­ters, such as try­ing to pro­vide potable water to the sixty-nine house­holds con­nected to the town water sup­ply. A water treat­ment plant was built a few years ago at a cost of about $4.5 mil­lion, how­ever, dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria was found in the treated water and res­i­dents had to start boil­ing their water again. “We are go­ing to have to chlo­ri­nate the water. That will be the last phase of the project,” said the gen­eral man­ager. Mod­i­fy­ing the treat­ment plant to chlo­ri­nate the water should cost be­tween $150,000 and $200,000, down quite a bit from the orig­i­nal es­ti­mate of $500,000.

Prop­erty tax bills have risen con­sid­er­ably as a re­sult of the new water treat­ment plant. The res­i­dents hooked up to the new town water sup­ply pay an ad­di­tional $600 a year to help pay for the par­tially funded treat­ment plant while the av­er­age tax bill is $3000 per house­hold.

The dam, which was bought by the town many years ago for a dol­lar, was par­tially de­stroyed in a flood in 1998. The town is plan­ning to test the water depth near the dam to see if it mer­its re-clas­si­fi­ca­tion and it may have to mod­ify the dam by mak­ing it a lit­tle lower.

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