Most of Bennington's water infrastructure is mostly hidden from view… but must never be forgotten!

pressure reducing valve access to vault before and after
Most of Bennington’s water infrastructure is mostly hidden from view… but must never be forgotten!

Our historic Morgan Spring and our current primary water source from Bolles Brook provide our community with excellent water. Treating that water and then getting it to every home through a vast network of tanks, pipes, and pumps, is a seriously big endeavor.

Providing pressure in the system is difficult and we must get water to every area no matter whether it’s in the valley or up on the hill. A Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition system (SCADA system for short) is in place to monitor pressure and other features of the water system.

new pipes and valvesOne important part of the system that you never see are called pressure reducers. Pressure reducers take the flow from the main delivery pipes and bring it down to a pressure suitable for homes and businesses. 

The water system has twenty pressure reducers throughout the town. Some are only accessible through very confined spaces and lack remote SCADA support, making maintenance difficult and requiring workers to manually access the valves during extreme weather events and emergencies. The access is often through a manhole in the middle of the street which can be dangerous to access in emergencies. 
Five of the pressure reducers are now housed in vaults with remote SCADA system support. This allows for remote monitoring and allows for easier access for maintenance.

In the photos here, you can see Town Water Department workers installing a new vault for a pressure reducer on East Main Street. The split photo shows the new vault and access point before the area is backfilled, and the second shows the top of the vault access as final cleanup and seeding of the site finishes out the project. Another photos is a look down into the vault as they work on installing the plumbing, and other photos show the massive pipes and valves that were all installed underground.

The installation work was done in-house by our own crews. Doing the work this way typically saves the town about 75% versus hiring a contractor to do the work. The cost of the pipes, valves, vault, and associated materials for this project totaled close to $200,000. 

This is an example of how part of your water bills are used. Speaking of bills, currently Bennington residents on the flat rate for water pay $55.85 a month ($12.89/week) for unlimited water. The average cost for water in the US is $73 a month.

The final result? A stronger water system, and a park-like appearance for the area where the new vault is located. Check it out the next time you are driving down East Main Street!