The Anson-Madison Water District is proposing a $3.2 million project that would replace a 4-mile section of water line between North Anson and Anson that has been prone to breaks over the last two years.

The repairs are much needed, according to Water District Superintendent Mike Corson, but probably would result in a rate increase for users sometime in the next few years.

A public hearing on the project will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Old Point Avenue school in Madison.

Corson said the section of water line to be replaced was put in around 1948 and is not in good condition.

“It’s really an old style (of pipe) and isn’t very durable compared to the modern technology of making pipe,” he said. “Over the past few years we’ve started to see more breaks on this pipe, and we feel it is reaching its age limit.”

In the last two years there have been five breaks on the 4-mile section, which helps bring water from Hancock Pond and the district wastewater treatment plant to homes and buildings in Anson and Madison.

In addition to the pipe’s age, some sections have become inaccessible to maintenance because of changes in Department of Transportation roads.

The project’s total cost is estimated at $3.2 million, of which $800,000 will be funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Grant.

The water district also plans to take out a loan to cover the rest of the cost, which would total $2.4 million with interest, Corson said.

Chris Roy, a member of the Anson-Madison Water District board of trustees, said he agrees with Corson that the project has to be done, but thinks the timing is not right since Madison Paper Industries — which makes up 10 percent of the district’s revenue — recently cut production from seven to five days per week for the next several months.

“I’m not saying the project shouldn’t be done, but I don’t think the timing is right,” Roy said. “The drop in production at Madison Paper is a big concern. To me that says they’re on their way out. What happens if Madison Paper isn’t there anymore? It will affect all the utilities in Madison.”

Water district users pay $72.55 per quarter for 1,200 cubic feet of water, the average amount used by a two-person household, Corson said. After that, the cost of water is $2.17 per 100 cubic feet of water.

A rate increase would be necessary to cover the cost of the loan, though the details of such an increase have not been determined, Corson said.

Payments on the loan could be deferred for up to one year after the project is finished, and construction would take about one to two years. The water district is hoping to put the project out to bid in the spring and start construction shortly afterward.

So far, Corson said, the water district has not heard any opposition to the project, and the grant already has been accepted by the district’s board of trustees.

Selectmen from both Anson and Madison have been invited to Thursday’s hearing, and residents also are invited to attend.

“The point is informational, to have everyone informed of what’s going on,” Corson said. “We’ve gone for a while here back and forth, trying to get the best deal we can, and we don’t want to put it off any longer.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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