With the culmination of six and a half years of effort, clean water is now flowing on the Silvermine Water Line. The milestone was marked with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Fire Department on Pocono Road Thursday morning, July 29.
"Within the next 10 days, clean water will flow to every condominium," First Selectman Bill Davidson promised, asserting that this is a solid deadline that will be met. Tests completed Thursday morning registered uranium-free water in three of the four condominium complexes serviced by the new line (Silvermine Manor, Newbury Crossing, Ledgewood and High Meadow); the fourth will be flushed and retested next week.
The new water line will bring potable water to residents in central Brookfield, who have been living with uranium-contaminated water for years. "I've heard it said that in World War II they thought seriously of mining uranium in Brookfield," former First Selectman Jerry Murphy, who started the water line project during his administration, said (though he couldn't confirm if the anecdote was true).
Murphy was relieved to finally see this project come to completion, but added that there is still work to be done. "This same team now needs to get water to Danbury," he said, referencing the planned Southern Line that will run along Federal Road from the junction with route 133 to Danbury. The Southern Line has a projected completion date of December 2011, according to Marty Handshy, the town's water advisor.
Part of the team Murphy spoke of were agents within the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH), including the now-retired Drinking Water Section Chief Darrell Smith, who stayed with the DPH just long enough to see this project through. "I retired back in February," he said, "and I only retied because I knew this project was nearly finished."
State Senator Andrew Roraback (R-30) and State Representative David Scribner (R-107) were also on hand for the occasion. "The more daunting the challenge, the sweeter the taste of success," Roraback said, paraphrasing an old proverb. "I don't think there will be a sweeter drop of water on Earth than what will come out of the tap here."
"This is critically important," Scribner said, "not just for those who will benefit from the water, but it will benefit the entire community," with working fire hydrants and increases in the grand list, as well as potable water for Brookfield's citizens.
Before the water projects were underway, the town had 17 operable fire hydrants. With the installation of the Northern Line (36 working hydrants according to Handshy, who acted as manager of the institution that built the line, BV Water), hydrants on the Barnbeck Line and the new installations along Silvermine and Pocono, the town now has more than 60 working hydrants.
The ceremony ended with a ribbon cutting and an arc of water from one of the new hydrants, positioned in front of the Fire Department.