Cape Gazette

Milton denies well request for car wash

Officials say town can't afford to give away water
By Henry J. Evans Jr | Apr 28, 2014
Photo by: Henry J. Evans Jr. Milton Town Council has denied a commercial water well request from Finish Line Car Wash owner Jim Parker. In February Parker said in light of the town's water shortage a private well would ensure the car wash would remain in business. Town officials said private commercial water wells contribute to revenue loss.

Milton — Milton Mayor and Town Council have denied a request by the owner of Finish Line Car Wash for permission to drill a commercial water well. The panel voted at its April 7 meeting.

At the mayor and council’s February meeting it voted to table the well request pending input from the water committee and Pennoni Associates Inc., the town’s consulting engineering firm.

Finish Line owner Jim Parker in February said he wanted to drill the well because the town is experiencing a water shortage. He said without water he would be out of business.

Parker told town officials the automatic car wash, which opened in 2004, is open around the clock daily and is equipped to process used water and recycle it for additional washes.

At the February meeting Councilman Emory West, chairman of the Milton Water Committee, told Parker the town owns the water underneath it as stated in the town charter. Parker said he is aware the town owns the water.

Town officials say they are concerned about losing revenue because commercial well owners don’t pay for water the town owns and they use.

Mayor Marion Jones and councilmembers John Booros, John Collier, Kristin Patterson and West voted to deny the request; Councilman Michael Coté voted to approve it; and Councilwoman Esthelda Parker Selby abstained.

“I don’t think this town can afford to give away one more dime,” Booros said.

Wastewater from the car wash enters the town’s wastewater treatment system. City officials mentioned metering the quantity of wastewater the car wash produces, but quickly decided that was not part of the current discussion.

There was also a brief mention of establishing a bulk-rate for water from commercial wells, and the panel decided that, too, wasn’t part of the discussion.

Town officials said the car wash ranks second in water volume used behind Milton-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

In December mayor and town council voted unanimously in favor of permitting to drill a second private commercial well to accommodate a new packaging line at its new warehouse.

Brewmaster Tim Hawn said the town’s treated water could affect beer’s flavor, and the company prefers to use its own water to avoid fluoridation and chlorination.

Hawn said the second well is needed because the brewery couldn’t pump enough water from a single well once it reaches an annual production of 500,000 barrels, which could take five to six years. Dogfish planned to produce 202,000 barrels in 2013.

Milton's Finish Line Car Wash request for permission to drill a commercial water well has been denied by Milton Mayor and Town Council. Milton has two commercial wells; both are owned by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Photo by: Henry J. Evans Jr.)
Town of Milton officials say only Dogfish Head Craft Brewery uses more town water than the Finish Line Car Wash. Milton Mayor and Town Council denied a request to allow the car wash to drill a private commercial water well. (Photo by: Henry J. Evans Jr.)
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