Bennington wants to cash in on its spring water - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bennington wants to cash in on its spring water

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BENNINGTON, Vt. -

The town of Bennington says its drinking water is so good, it's looking to make some money from it.

Town officials say their water resources are barely being tapped and they are considering bottling and selling public water. It comes at a time when some residents say they don't even have access to it.

"It is extremely pure. The waters at the spring is at the range of 30 years old when they surface. And we felt there should be a market for that," explained town manager Stuart Hurd.

Hurd says water from the underground Morgan Spring is tasty, clean and abundant. Hurd says that Morgan Springs is a secondary source for the town, and estimates it uses less than 10 percent of the available water.

"If you look at our water source we have access to over 6 million gallons of water a day. The town is currently using just over 2 million gallons a day. Which is only half the capacity of our treatment plant," Hurd said.

Hurd says the town is in a unique situation and is looking at cashing in on the liquid gold. The town already sells a small portion of water to Vermont Pure, and is currently looking to contract with another bottling company. But the company must be willing to call Bennington home.

"We would be looking for someone who is coming to Bennington, to construct a facility, to hire Bennington people, to run the facility. That would be the ideal situation and the one we are focusing on mostly," Hurd explained.

Revenue generated by selling the bottled water, Hurd says, could help lower taxes, and create new jobs for the area.

"I think that if it would help with taxes-- it's a good thing," said Rosemarie Jackowski of Bennington.

Jackowski says she supports creating jobs and revenue for the town, but says she feels a little left behind.

"I'm glad other people will be able to get our water, and I want some of it too! {laughs} But I'll have to go to the store and probably pay at least a dollar a gallon," she said.

Jackowski says she built her house nearly 30 years ago, but still can't get town water. The water line is only 200-feet away, but getting an extension for the neighborhood would be costly. Jackowski says it's frustrating knowing the town may be selling a wonderful resource, that she would love to have coming from her faucets.

"If they do make some money on that, could they use it to bring the line to areas where people want water? That would be really great," she questioned.

Town officials say they are not sure how much money the town could make from bottling the water.

The town manager says if and when the town begins selling water, he isn't sure if the revenue would go toward helping people like Jackowski get town water themselves, but it isn't completely off the table.

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