If your home has no water or you have another water-related emergency, please contact Jim Hybl at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (802) 767-3900.
Overview of the GHOA Cooperative Water Systems
The GHOA cooperative water system (CWS) consists of 28 sub-systems, which supply water to a total of 67 homes. Between one and four homes are connected to each sub-system, which includes one well equipped with a submersible pump, a pressure tank (to reduce variations in water pressure), electrical switches controlling pressure in the system, and pipes supplying water to the homes. If several homes belong to one sub-system, the well is connected directly to a “control house,” which supplies water to the rest of the homes in parallel, through an independent valve called a “curb-stop.”
The current setup is the result of improvements to the original CWS, which was built in the 1970s. These improvements, initiated by former water czar Val Zemelman, have reduced the number of homes connected to each well, shortened water lines, and thus reduced the amount and cost of maintenance. Nevertheless, the CWS is a complicated system that requires considerable annual maintenance.
To ensure that the water is safe to drink, the GHOA annually tests each sub-system for coliform, a bacterial indicator of the sanitary quality of water. A water sample is taken from one home on each sub-system, usually the control house, to test the quality of water from the well. It is sent to a private laboratory for testing. If a sample tests positive for total coliform bacteria, all homeowners on the sub-system are immediately notified, the well is chlorinated, and after chlorination the sub-system is resampled to ensure that the water is clean. Homeowners are notified as soon as a negative test confirms the absence of coliform bacteria.
The GHOA is responsible for ensuring that the water entering homes is safe to drink, and for maintenance of all equipment delivering water from the well to the homes. Homeowners have three sets of responsibilities.
(1) Homeowners are responsible for keeping all water-related equipment within their home and on their property in good working order. A leaking pipe or faucet, or a running toilet, can put significant strain on a sub-system pump, eventually causing it to burn out and require replacing, which is extremely costly. In exceptional cases, the GHOA reserves the right to turn off water to a house if repairs are not performed in a timely manner.
(2) Homeowners are responsible for ensuring that property improvements do not adversely impact the CWS. Maps of the CWS and all individual sub-systems, as well as original sketches of the water lines within most properties, are maintained by the GHOA and are available in the GHOA office. Homeowners and/or contractors should consult these maps before any digging is performed.
(3) Although we annually test each well for water quality, this does not guarantee that the water in each home is drinkable, since additional contamination can occur within the home. Homeowners are encouraged to regularly test their own water, particularly after long periods in which the home is unoccupied. The GHOA will not reimburse for private water tests.
In addition to these responsibilities, we strongly recommend that all homeowners have at least five gallons of fresh water stored at their home at all times, in case of a problem with the water system or an extended power outage (which will shut off the well pump).
Chair: Nick King