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Sunday, September 21, 2014

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Officials consider $5.2M for storm repairs, creating power 'microgrids'

Updated 5:30 pm, Wednesday, January 2, 2013
  • Repairs to public properties damaged in Fairfield by Superstorm Sandy -- including Penfield Pavilion, which suffered buckled floors and broken railings when the strom surge undermined the structure -- will cost more than $5 million, according to a report prepared for the Board of Selectmen. Photo: File Photo / Fairfield Citizen
    Repairs to public properties damaged in Fairfield by Superstorm Sandy -- including Penfield Pavilion, which suffered buckled floors and broken railings when the strom surge undermined the structure -- will cost more than $5 million, according to a report prepared for the Board of Selectmen. Photo: File Photo

 

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The Board of Selectmen this week will not only consider $5.2 million in bonding to repair damages to public properties caused by Superstorm Sandy, the panel will also be looking at ways to better prepare the town for future devastating weather.

The selectmen will meet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Sullivan-Independence Hall.

One of those ways to better weather strong storms is to create "microgrids" to safeguard power supplies at key town facilities, including police headquarters, the public works garages, sewage treatment plant and fire headquarters.

The proposal calls for adding photovoltaic systems at fire headquarters, and rewiring a diesel-fired emergency generator at the police headquarters, and underground connections between the fire and police departments and the Operation Hope homeless shelter would be installed. In addition, a 300-kilowatt energy fuel cell will be installed at the sewage treatment plant, fueled by an existing on-site gas main. A 100-kilowatt reciprocating generator will also be installed the plant, using methane created by the digesters to provide electricity. An existing 800-kilowatt emergency generator will be converted to dual fuel and two other emergency generators will be reconfigured.

A 1,000-kilowatt photovoltaic system will be installed on a section of the closed landfill and will be connected to the microgrid at the public works compound.

Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo is seeking approval from the selectmen to apply for a grant from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to create the microgrids.

Needed repairs around town -- for which at least 75 percent reimbursement is expected -- include repairs to Penfield Pavilion, and modifications to make sure the type of damage it suffered from the storm does not happen again. The work is expected to cost $1 million, but the town's share is estimated at $125,000. The town will hire a design professional with expertise in soils, foundations and structural repairs.

According to the funding request, "It is envisioned that pile footings will be constructed, the entire building will be elevated several feet, and the access stairs will be modified and the bulkhead fortified to protect the structure."

The building will be raised to an elevation above the Federal Emergency Management Agency's latest standards, which will be effective next spring, and the bulkhead will be built according to DEEP regulations to protect the beach, the pavilion and Fairfield Beach Road.

Another $700,000 is estimated for replenishing the sand at Penfield, Jennings, Sasco and Southport beaches, and it is hoped the town will be able to secure approval to use sand removed from the South Benson navigational channel. The sand would be screened. The cost for re-establishing the boating channel is estimated at about $400,000.

Other work in the bonding package includes:

$370,000 to repair the drainage and road base of Fairfield Beach Road from Reef Road to the cul-de-sac

$400,000 for re-establishing the channel in Southport Harbor

$300,000 to repair the jetty that leads to the South Benson fishing pier

$350,000 to repair the breakers and seawall at Southport Beach

$400,000 to re-establish Pine Creek channel and remove debris

$150,000 for repairs to the Fairfield Beach Road cul-de-sac seawall and bulkhead

$125,000 to increase the Pine Creek dike elevation

$567,000 for infrastructure repair including the Southport Beach concession, the Sasco Beach concession, Ye Yacht Yard building, parking lot repairs.