A recently completed study of Henlopen Acres’ water system shows that while the infrastructure is in pretty good shape, now is the time to start saving for future improvements.
The town isn’t on borrowed time, but it’s gotten its money’s worth, said Dan Sting, an engineer from KCI Technologies, during a board of commissioners meeting July 13. Henlopen Acres water system is in good shape, he said, but some assets have reached the end of, or exceeded, their life expectancy.
The town funded the study through a $100,000 grant from the Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council. Town Manager Tom Roth said the town has used about $35,000 of the grant.
Sting said city staff has a done a good job replacing broken or underperforming parts of the system, but it’s been done on an as-needed basis, and some parts of the system will require significant investment in the future.
According to the report, it would cost approximately $5.8 million to replace the town’s water system, including wells, pumping equipment, treatment plant and water mains.
Sting reiterated there’s probably nothing that will need to be replaced in the next year or two, but now is the time to start planning.
“These are all based on theoretical values,” he said. “You can tell when things are going to drop off. It’s our belief the items are not in danger of imminent failure.”
The commissioners discussed the costs of joining the Rehoboth water system, but Roth said it would cost Henlopen Acres property owners almost twice as much.
In addition to saving, Sting also presented commissioners with a few other observations.
Sting said the town should consider installing fire hydrants. Today, he said, if there’s a fire, a fire truck hooks up to a hydrant on Henlopen Avenue or drops a line into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
Sting said to install fire hydrants, which would require hooking into neighboring Rehoboth’s system, Henlopen Acres would have to install 6-inch pipe because the town’s 4-inch pipe couldn’t handle the pressure. He estimated it would take two to three hydrants to cover the entire town.
Roth said a portion of the remaining grant money could be used to evaluate the best placement of the fire hydrants.
Sting also suggested upgrading the water metering system. He said right now property owners pay a flat rate, and that installing a metering system could help detect a leak.
Sting commended town staff for their knowledge and upkeep of the water system, but he said it would be good to get everything from their heads down onto paper.
At the conclusion of Sting’s presentation, Mayor Joni Reich thanked him for the work.
“The water system is the important thing we’re responsible for in the town,” she said.
$250,000 surplus for fiscal year 2017/2018
Preliminary returns on Henlopen Acres’ 2017/2018 fiscal year, which ended June 30, show there was a net total increase of $248,000.
Roth said the town had operating revenue budget of $809,000, but the actual revenue was $887,000. He said the town budgeted $803,000 for operating expenses, but expenses came at $784,000.
Roth said the town collected $220,000 in realty transfer tax and there were some capital improvements the town did not complete.
The positive numbers are not yet official. Roth said the town will have a certified public accountant perform an audit, which is then reviewed by the audit committee, who may recommend any changes to process or procedures.