Published: 8/2/2021 9:38:18 PM
Modified: 8/2/2021 9:38:22 PM
NORTH HARTLAND — More than 80 homes and businesses have been under a “boil water” notice for the last two weeks as the North Hartland Cooperative Water System waits for parts to make a permanent repair to the plumbing in its well.
And the customized pipe and other parts may not be in for a couple more days because of problems in the global supply chain, according to Ken White, the owner of the Ascutney-based Valley Artesian Well Co., which is undertaking the repairs.
The cooperative issued the notice shortly after the July 19 failure of an “as yet unidentified part” of the plumbing in the system’s well. A temporary pumping line was installed, but the boil water order remained in effect on Monday, according to Kelly Meacham, the administrator of the cooperative water system.
“We’ve been testing fine. We’ve had three tests and they’ve all come back fine, but we are on a temporary system and we are waiting to hear from the state of Vermont what they want to do,” said Meacham, whose husband, Ed, is the operator of the system.
She said Valley Artesian is waiting for parts before making permanent repairs to the system’s well, but that there is a backlog.
“Valley Artesian does not want to do anything with the well until all the parts that could be needed could be ordered, and whatever needs to be fixed could be fixed,” Meacham said.
White said his company had installed “temporary submersible pumps” to get water flowing again shortly after the system failed and said “they are carrying the system pretty well.”
North Hartland’s system has “centrifugal pumps which use a suction line of a shallow well. Something has failed on that suction line. We believe it’s a foot valve,” said White, explaining that such valves are a type of check valve with a strainer.
Valley Artesian has ordered the foot valve and 18 feet of four-inch galvanized pipe with threads.
“That pipe has to be cut and threaded to a custom length,” he said, noting that the parts for the commercial system are “not commodity parts of residential homes.”
He said typically it would have been in by now, but that the supply chain slowdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic are having an impact here, too. “A lot of the factories suffered slowdowns,” White said. “We are having problems with a multitude of parts and pieces for water systems.”
Meacham, whose family runs a dairy farm along Route 5 in North Hartland, said the Hartland Volunteer Fire Department helped provide water to the system when it initially failed so the cows could be hydrated and other customers served as well.
She said about 110 people are served by the water system, and that the Hartland Food Shelf donated 20 cases of water, each holding 6 gallons, that users could pick up from the Meachams’ porch. Only two or three cases were left on Monday, she said.
She said her parents were bringing her family water to drink while the boil water order notice remained in effect.
Residents were advised not to drink the water from the North Hartland system nor use it for cleaning dishes unless it has been boiled first.
Jill Metivier, whose family runs Steve’s Bait Shop, is on the water board and said she hopes fellow residents can be patient as the small cooperative waits for the fix, and that the situation has not had any effect on the bait shop business.
“It’s no worse than when the power goes out,” she said. “It’s just one of those unavoidable things.”
White, of Valley Artesian, said if the parts come in within a couple of days “it’s possible we could do that replacement at the tail end of this week.”
John P. Gregg can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3217.