Fund­ing for wa­ter re­sources ap­proved

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers (BOC) voted Thurs­day evening to give Carter and Sloope, the county’s con­sult­ing engi­neers for wa­ter re­sources, the go-ahead to be­gin prepa­ra­tion of a loan ap­pli­ca­tion for funds to make im­prove­ments to the county’s wa­ter sys­tem and to come up with a list of projects to spend the money on.

The unan­i­mous vote came af­ter a pre­sen­ta­tion by Carter and Sloope’s Marty Boyd and County Wa­ter Re­sources Di­rec­tor James Brown about im­prove­ments needed to the wa­ter sys­tem. The pre­sen­ta­tion was the re­port of an as­sess­ment of the county’s wa­ter sys­tem con­ducted by Carter and Sloope.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, rec­om­mended im­prove­ments to the Cornish Creek and Wil­liams Street plants will to­tal over $23 mil­lion. Boyd rec­om­mended that the im­prove­ments be pri­or­i­tized.

“We want to fix things in man­age­able chunks and pieces that make sense from a fund­ing stand­point, that make sense from an op­er­a­tions stand­point and make sense from a con­structabil­ity stand­point,” he said.

“And we also wanted to pri­or­i­tize these projects based on elim­i­nat­ing any safety is­sues to op­er­a­tors and the pub­lic”

Boyd rec­om­mended that the fo­cus be on the Cornish Creek plant be­cause that’s where the county gets most of its wa­ter.

“Wil­liams Street has been an im­por­tant as­set to this com­mu­nity and it’s an im­por­tant as­set to the Wa­ter Re­sources Depart­ment,” he said. “The re­al­ity is 85 per­cent or more of your wa­ter is com­ing from Cornish Creek, 100 per­cent most days.”

Among the im­prove­ments rec­om­mended for the Cornish Creek Plant are a float­ing dock pump sta­tion to in­crease amount of wa­ter that can be with­drawn, a new 30-inch high-ser­vice main par­al­lel to the ex­ist­ing 24-inch high ser­vice main and in­stal­la­tion of a new three megaWatt backup power gen­er­a­tor to power the en­tire plant dur­ing ex­tended power out­ages.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the to­tal pro­ject costs for im­prove­ments to the Cornish Creek Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant Sys­tem in­clud­ing Al­covy River Pump Sta­tion No.2 im­prove­ments and Lake Varner im­prove­ments are just over $16 mil­lion.

Im­prove­ments to the Wil­liams Street Plant are pre­dicted to be less than half as much as the Cornish Creek im­prove­ments. Among the rec­om­mended re­pairs are nec­es­sary struc­tural re­pairs at the plant and re­moval of the plant’s one ton chlo­rine gas cylin­ders. To­tal costs for im­prove­ments to the Wil­liams Street Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant Sys­tem, in­clud­ing im­prove­ments to the Al­covy River Pump Sta­tion No. 1 im­prove­ments and City Pond im­prove­ments are $7,340,000.

Dur­ing an April meet­ing, the BOC ap­proved a re­quest for New­ton County Wa­ter Re­sources to ask the Ge­or­gia En­vi­ron­men­tal Fi­nance Author­ity for per­mis­sion to re­pur­pose the $21 mil­lion GEFA loan al­lot­ted for the Bear Creek Reser­voir to other wa­ter sup­ply projects, in­clud­ing re­pairs and up­grades on ex­ist­ing wa­ter in­take struc­tures.

Carter and Sloope rec­om­mended the county uti­lize a GEFA loan avail­able un­der the Drink­ing Wa­ter State Re­volv­ing Fund, a fed­er­ally funded loan with a in­ter­est rate of 1.89 per­cent that in­cludes a 1 per­cent in­ter­est rate re­duc­tion for wa­ter con­ser­va­tion projects. Boyd said the im­prove­ments to the county’s sys­tem would qual­ify for the re­duc­tion.

“Most of these items ad­dress not only ef­fi­ciency, but more im­por­tantly they’re ad­dress­ing con­ver­sa­tion is­sues,” he said.

“When you start talk­ing about re­duc­ing en­ergy costs and sav­ing wa­ter, it opens up an­other realm of op­tions you have for fund­ing.

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