After more than four decades on the Belfast Water District's board of trustees, and one year into retirement, Archie Gaul still has ideas for the city's municipal water system.

Gaul retired from the board in 2016, but on June 12 trustees invited him back to dedicate the Water District's Little River headquarters in his honor.

The man of the hour was fashionably late arriving, and when confronted with a crowd of people outside the building, asked dryly if everyone was locked out.

Gaul received a legislative sentiment from Sen. Michael Thiobeau via staffer Dorothy Havey, who also gave him a copy of the 1919 legislative action that incorporated the Belfast Water District.

Water District Superintendent Keith Pooler read a short list of honorary remarks, to which Gaul responded with a list of suggestions, starting with connecting services on Northport Avenue to Church and High streets.

"Take Miller at Congress and run it to Cross," he said, referring to water lines on several other downtown streets.

He urged trustees to keep a working list of projects but remain flexible.

"The trouble is sometimes you have to move with the city, so you have to go at the right time," he said.

Belfast Water existed before the incorporation. The utility was created in 1887 in response to a pair of fires that destroyed large parts of downtown.

The building dedicated to Gaul once tapped Little River for Belfast's municipal water supply. Today the district gets its water from the Goose River Aquifer in East Belfast, drawing from two wells, at Jackson Pit and Smart Road.

The wells pump an average of 550,000 gallons of water a day through 40 miles of mains and to fill the district's four standpipes, which provide water for fire protection.