By Matt Pascarella
Early this fall, construction was finished on the Wards Hill water pump station in Gorham as the old station, built in 1895, will be slowly phased out in the next two to three years years. It is important to note that the older water pump station is not unsafe, but it is not big enough to meet the demands of the growing communities. As a result, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 69 Ward Road on Thursday, December 6 to officially bring the new station into the forefront.
|Ribbon cutting ceremony at new pump station|
Joel Anderson, Water Services Plant Chief Operator for Portland Water District, explained that the new Gorham pump gives both Windham and Gorham increased flow capacity from the old 600 gallons per minute into the Gorham system to the now 1,200 gallons per minute.
Pride’s Corner in Portland pushes water into the Windham Center system. A new water tank storage facility will be built on the Windham Center side, behind town hall and extend a water main from the Little Falls bridge, back to Windham Center. Right now, the current water tank holds 200,000 gallons, but once the new tank in Windham is completed, it will hold up to 2 million gallons. This added storage in the new water tank on Windham Center, near town hall, will aid in reserve for fighting fires.
Having the additional storage gives the ability to run the Gorham pump station in a more effective manner. When the pump runs nonstop during peak hours and uses more energy, more money is spent. Having reserve storage during non-peak hours saves energy and money.
“The project was identified by a Comprehensive Strategic Plan put in place twenty years ago,” added Anderson. “It’s something they’ve been working on for a while. A lot of pipe had to be put into the ground. Upgrades began in 2006 with the installation of water mains to Fort Hill Road, Huston Road and Wards Hill Road in Gorham; this improved water pressure to residents in the area.”
Over the next few years, improvements will be made to connect the Gorham and Windham distribution systems and allow the Wards Hill pump to be the primary feeding station for Windham. Once the systems are connected, Windham and Gorham can operate as a single, combined system. In “an emergency, the Windham tanks will be a backup, sending water to the point of least resistance, and vice-versa,” continues Anderson.
“We’ve already spent $8.3 million to build the piping and build the pump station in Gorham and will apply $5 million over the next five years for the new tank site and piping in Windham,” stated Chris Crovo, Executive Director of Asset Management and Planning for the Portland Water District.
Design planning begins in 2019 and construction starts in 2020. They’ll be more investment for piping in Windham over the next five to ten years.