Town source future option in Artesian’s Dagsboro well plans

John Thaeder, left, of Artesian Water Company shares information on Artesian’s plans for a new well site at the May 20 Dagsboro town council meeting. Looking on is Rob Duma of Davis, Bowen & Friedel. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

DAGSBORO — All is well thus far for Artesian Water Company’s plans for a new well system in the immediate Dagsboro area.

Several years down the road, this could be a water-source option for the town of Dagsboro, which currently purchases its water from the town of Millsboro in a 20-year agreement that expires in late 2022.

Dagsboro council, at its May 20 meeting, approved preliminary site plans for Artesian’s project, which includes three new wells, a maintenance building and a 1 million-gallon elevated water tower on property off Del. 20 not far from the Vines Creek Road (Del. 26) intersection.

“We’ve been growing out this way and we’ve been looking for a source of supply that would do two things,” said John M. Thaeder, vice president of operations for Artesian. “One is to help as we’re growing. But also, in the operations that we have been doing with the town we know that there is need for high-quality water closer to the town.”

“We did some test drilling and found the quality of water that would be good to provide — water that would not only serve a local area but would have quality that would allow it to stay in good, high standards as the water moved farther from the facility,” said Mr. Thaeder. “We have had a long relationship with the town. We have grown. We started in South Bethany, we’ve grown down through Fenwick and we’ve just interconnected with Selbyville last year.”

“It’s a good area. They did a test well,” said Dagsboro Town Administrator Cindi Brought. “They are very much interested in pulling Dagsboro in to serve them water. They already test our water and have assisted us on many things in contract with them.”

Only about three acres of the 15.5-acre parcel Artesian owns near Prince George’s Acres and Indian River High School would be developed, said Rob Duma of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc., architectural/engineering firm.

The well facility would be fenced for security,

Included in this is a documented “Interconnection Agreement” that Artesian wants the town council to consider in regard to connecting to Artesian’s water system when they are in operation here in Dagsboro.

According to the agreement, the town “will not include purchasing water from Artesian at this time unless there would be an emergency situation with Millsboro not being able to supply the town with water. Dagsboro is in a binding contract with the town of Millsboro in regard to serving water to the town through December 2022. At the conclusion of our contract with Millsboro, the plan is to consider switching water service from the town of Millsboro to Artesian services as they will have the connections set up for us to come online with them.”

This agreement further states “that both parties agree that it would be mutually beneficial to interconnect their systems to allow the delivery and receipt of water and supplies from Artesian, according to conditions set within the document. All expense and reasonable consultation with the town, design, construct, build and install of the interconnection, including a meter vault on Route 20 at a point directly across from their new facility shall be Artesian’s expense.”

“It will definitely say that we do not have to purchase water from them until we decide that is what the town would like to do,” said Ms. Brought. “They would like to put in that interconnection between Dagsboro and them while they are doing construction; the infrastructure will be put in place. Once we drop Millsboro, everything is there. They are ready to serve us.”

The interconnection, similar to the one Dagsboro has with Millsboro, measures what water comes into the town supply and what goes back to the supplier.

“We have a contract with the town of Millsboro,” said Ms. Brought. “They are not allowing us out of that contract. It was a 20-year contract with no clauses to give Dagsboro an out at all.”

Ms. Brought noted the timeframe for Dagsboro’s contract with Millsboro, which goes through December of 2022, and Artesian’s anticipated completion date.

“Until Artesian gets up and running with the new wells, the new maintenance building and the water tower, it will be like 2021,” she said. “So really it’s not a horrible thing.”

Artesian plans to drill the first production well this summer as part of its two-phase project.

The well facility would basically be unmanned, except for daily control checks and bi-monthly chemical deliveries and iron/manganese sludge hauling.

All motors and operating equipment will be inside the building or underground. The only noise would be generated by periodic 15- to-20-minute testing of generators. “They are quiet generators. I don’t believe they will hear them,” Mr. Thaeder said.

The iron should present no odor problem.

“This has nothing to do with wastewater,” Mr. Thaeder said.

Artesian is working with Kyle Gulbronson of AECOM, the town’s consultant, as well as Sussex Conservation District and the state Department of Transportation.

“The first phase is really to be able to meet the needs that we have more local,” said Mr. Thaeder.

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