The Prudence Island Water District is pleased to have been included in the recent federal FY 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
The $1.35 million in funding received will be spent on important infrastructure projects the PIWD could not otherwise have afforded. At the May meeting, the PIWD board decided to put replacement of the Governor Paine “express” and other substandard lines out to bid. These lines have been responsible for over half of the system’s leaks in recent years, so replacement will improve system reliability, reduce the chance of depressurization or de-watering, and save customers an estimated $10,000 annually in emergency repairs and associated costs.
Many thanks go to Richard Rainer and Robin Weber, who prepared the application for the funding, others in Portsmouth and the PIWD who supported their effort, our elected federal and state representatives, and to all who completed income surveys, wrote letters of support, or otherwise helped us secure this essential funding.
In addition to the federal funds, the PIWD expects a significant state contribution to the ongoing water treatment project, which will remove bacteria, iron, and manganese from our water. Also, Portsmouth has graciously decided to share its ARPA (COVID relief) funding with the Prudence Island Water District; we expect this will cover a replacement generator, communications infrastructure, equipment, and other smaller engineering projects that will make our system more reliable and easier to operate.
The State of Rhode Island recently created a program to help low-income households pay their water bills. The Prudence Island Water District’s application to join this Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) has been approved.
The highest priority of the program is to help pay water bills for low-income customers who have had their service terminated, or who have been threatened with service disconnection due to overdue bills. In meetings with the State, they anticipate to pay:
Eligibility for the program is established using the guidance below:
In Rhode Island, applications to the program are handled by local “Community Action Agencies”. This is the same as for existing programs, such as Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The agency responsible for Portsmouth is the East Bay Community Action Program. To apply to the program, contact East Bay Community Action at (401)437-5102 or find them on the web at https://ebcap.org. As funding is limited for this temporary program, those interested in applying are encouraged not to wait.
The program may also help pay bills for low-income households who are in financial distress but are current on their bills, but this will only occur if there is sufficient funding available, and funds would appear to be quite limited at this time. The PIWD will provide more information as the program evolves.
More details may be obtained from the appropriate federal, state, and local resources.
The PIWD is pleased to announce its newest hire, Romeo Mendes. Romeo is an experienced water system manager and is licensed to operate water distribution and treatment systems. The district is in the process of building a new disinfection and filtration system that will have additional licensing requirements, so we are quite fortunate to have found Romeo to fill the system manager role. Romeo is also a licensed Professional Engineer, which will come in quite handy as we design and build our new treatment system.
Will Capron and Alton Barret will continue to operate the water system on a daily basis, ensuring qualified staff is available on-island 24/7.
The PIWD board generally holds regular meetings on the third Saturday of the month at 1pm at Hope Brown Center, with the exception of August and December. Please refer to our published meeting schedule. Meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the website of the Secretary of State.
The Town of Portsmouth has enabled the PIWD to utilize CODE RED to inform its customers of activities that may impact them. Sign up on the contact page to receive alerts related to water shut-offs for routine maintenance and repair, road closures, system flushing, etc.
Unfortunately, the PIWD is currently under a Boil Water Advisory, which is likely to last until the ongoing disinfection and filtration project is complete. Please refer to the state’s website for additional information and guidance about Boil Water Advisories.