Grants available for Dagsboro water

It has been three years since referendum, and residents of Dagsboro still haven’t seen one drop of central water. However, the finish line is coming into view.
According to engineer Chuck Hauser (Davis, Bowen & Friedel), they should be cleared for hookup by late April or early May.

Hauser said they planned to bring the hydrants on line first, per the fire marshal’s request, and then the town would start sending out letters of notification of availability.

However, property owners will need to take a few last steps to get the water from the main to the house.

Residents will need to pick up a Service Application and choose a plumber from a list of licensed contractors (both available at Town Hall). If they have their own plumber, he or she must be licensed with the town.

They will need to call Town Hall 48 hours prior to the day their plumbing work is set to commence, and schedule an inspection.

Well in advance of that work, Al Phillips (Sussex County Community Development & Housing) advised residents to contact him for help with the hookup costs.

Costs for connection to the main could run upwards of $1,000, but Phillips’ has grant money available to families in the following income brackets:

• One person, earning less than $28,500.

• Two people, earning less than $32,600.

• Three, less than $36,650.

• Four, less than $40,700, and so on.

Qualified applicants must be property owners and permanent residents of Sussex County, and their taxes must be current.

If they meet these criteria, Phillips’ program should cover 100 percent of the hookup costs.

He said he would need the plumbers to register with his program as well, and advised residents to start calling as soon as possible.

For more information, call (302) 856-7777.

Once the town signs off on the contractors’ work, Artesian gets the Service Application and installs the meter.

Artesian’s George Davis said the company would perform an initial check at the water meter to make sure there were no leaks inside the house. If the meter kept running, he said they would shut the water off and leave a note on the front door.

Both Davis and Phillips reminded everyone how much water even a slow leak could cost them, once they started paying for water by the gallon.

Under 60 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure, a 1/16-inch hole will bleed 74,000 gallons of water over a three-month period.

As Davis explained, residents will get 9,000 gallons every three months at the base billing ($120), and then pay $3 per 1,000 gallons after that.

Representatives from the town of Millsboro said their customers used on average 80 gallons per day per person.

Following that formula, a family of two could expect to use roughly 14,000 gallons per quarter ($135). A family of three could expect to use 22,000 gallons quarterly ($159) and so on.

Hauser said the rates would be reviewed on an annual basis, with guidance from the Public Service Commission.

Three years ago, engineers estimated system build out at $3.6 million. However, the final price tag came in at $5 million, partly due to lackluster response during the bidding process, according to Hauser.

The town received $3 million in federal and state grant money, and residents will pay debt service on the remaining $2 million.

• A $1.4 million loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, 30 years at 1.5 percent.

• A $600,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 40 years at 4.5 percent.