"Significant work" has been done recently on the engine-tanker replacement capital project, according to a report from the Wilton Fire Department.

Selectman Jim Saxe presented an update on the $695,000 capital bonded project to the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting on Sept. 27. Mr. Saxe is serving as the selectmen's liaison on the project.

According to the report, fire department officials "are in the process of finalizing the bid specifications" of the project, which was approved in the annual budget process." Bid specifications are "expected to be sent out in October, with the bids from interested vendors coming back within six to eight weeks after that."

The tanker will take approximately one and a half years "to specify, manufacture and place into service."

The report described the vehicle as "the most critical engine in our apparatus fleet," serving as "a combination fire attack, EMS response and water-carrying vehicle."

The significance of the vehicle is because 80% of Wilton does not have fire hydrants, and it carries "2,500 gallons of water or 63% of our total transportable water, or triple the water-carrying capacity of each of our other front line engines," the report said.

The current tanker was purchased in 1994, and "has reached the end of its useful life."

The report also noted progress on the project has included "performing research and meeting with neighboring towns," along with "requesting detailed information and proposed designs from five qualified vendors ... We have also met each vendor and evaluated their information," he said.

In the interest of "due diligence," fire department officials have conducted research to "assure that an appropriate used engine-tanker was not available."