Milford study committee recommends separate water district

MILFORD – As if they’re jealous of the Pennichuck perturbations in Nashua and environs, some folks think Milford should shake up its own water system.

A study committee has recommended that Milford create a separate water district, similar to the one that exists in Merrimack. The water and sewer systems, which cover roughly half the town, are now part of the Milford town government.

A water and sewer district would have its own commissioners, either elected or appointed, plus its own annual meeting. This would allow greater oversight of an increasingly complicated area, argued study committee Chairman Merv Newton.

“You’ve got enough to do,” he told the five selectmen during a presentation Monday.

A separate water district also would have the ability to take out its own long-term debt, separate from the town and school system’s debt.

The issue of water is coming up in town not only because of Nashua’s desire to take over Pennichuck Water Works, which provides backup water to Milford, but also because new tests on a long-abandoned well alongside the Souhegan River at the future Kaley Park have shown signs that this could provide a valuable future source of water.

Furthermore, Newton said, Wilton is interested in connecting to Milford’s water system to give itself a backup supply.

Creating a water district would require the approval of Town Meeting. An intermediate step, the study committee said, would be to create a semi-autonomous board of water commissioners that would operate under the eye of the selectmen, as the Planning Board does.