Expenses, repairs may slow plans for parallel water line

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

GRASSY KNOB -- The Carroll-Boone Water District (CBWD) may further postpone its Kings River crossing project in light of budgetary issues, as well as increased demand for water, higher expenses to provide that water, and increased repairs needed on the existing waterline.

Meeting Thursday, the Carroll-Boone board discussed some of the issues surrounding the project with McGoodwin, Williams & Yates (MWY) engineers Brad Hammond and Chris Hall.

The plan is to run a 400-foot parallel line where the existing waterline crosses the Kings River to meet increased demand and to provide a back-up should the existing line break during a flood event or from some other cause.

The entire project is to build a parallel line eventually for all 43 miles of waterline, but to do so in segments.

In 2009 the board approved a motion to allocate around $61,000 to go ahead with design and bidding. Total project cost is yet to be determined.

"We might want to look at how demand has changed since the last master plan," Hammond said.

The last update of the master plan was begun in 2007, and another is scheduled for next year.

"Harrison is our biggest user, and it's getting more difficult to get water to them," said Plant Manager John Summers.

Of the four member cities, Harrison and the smaller communities it supplies with water are at the end of the waterline.

They are also the areas experiencing the largest population growth in the last several years.

The 30-year-old waterline has had five breaks in the last three years, Summers said. Only one of those was caused by a contractor hitting the line. The others were caused by shifting earth forcing rocks to pierce the line.

Two waterline breaks in May forced boil orders for Green Forest, Harrison and its surrounding communities.

Hammond said MWY put the Kings River project on hold when Carroll-Boone water sales started declining.

Because of the increased need and higher cost for repairs and concerns about keeping a large amount of emergency funds available, the board declined a suggestion to invest $2.65 million at today's interest rates by paying off a portion of a bond issue and taking some money from emergency reserves, leaving only about $1 million in those reserves.

Hammond updated the board on the new state mandate to require water systems serving 5,000 or more people to fluoridate the water.

He said there has been no information forthcoming yet from Delta Dental, the largest national dental insurer, which has agreed to provide the fluoride.

"We're not ready to make a recommendation," Hammond said. "We're looking at optimal locations and materials."

Carroll-Boone will have to build a separate building to house the fluoride and delivery machinery.

Hammond said there are three forms of fluoride used in water fluoridation: sodium fluoride (a powder), fluorosilic acid (a highly corrosive liquid) and sodium fluorosilic (a powder form of the acid).

"We're visiting with other water operators to see what their experiences have been," he said. "We're doing this systematically to be sure it's safe and economical and complies with the requirements."

Concerned citizen Lisa Price-Backs, who attended the meeting in April, reiterated her concerns about health effects, notification and accountability.

"My main concern is health effects and socioeconomic disparity of low income families with infants," she said. "I can afford a water filtration system, but what about these other people? You've got to provide the best form of fluoride."

Hall reported the new liner coatings in the front water filters are performing well, and work has started on the back filters.

The district is pleased with the contractor, Seven Valleys, Co., who went "above and beyond" the contract without charging the district, Hall said.

Allison said the staff found the filter liners a lot easier to clean than the old painted surfaces.

The liners are expected to last close to 50 years.

The next CBWD meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. the Freeman-Raney Water Treatment Plant.

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