This, combined with costs, has brought a consensus from the Authority’s board members not to take action on sewer projects in a master growth plan. However, they agreed to include current sewer project information for future reference.
They agreed, during a recent work session, that the first priority would be given to water service, not sewer.
Water projects, totaling an estimated $14,165,000, is included in a master plan now being reviewed.
The plan was the focus of a presentation by Ronnie Wood, engineer, R.J. Wood and Company, at the work session. Wood said he wanted to review “what we have got, where we are and where we want to be as well as the type of facilities needed to meet the growing demands on the water system.”
He highlighted current water sources: Deaton Spring, permitted at 4 million gallons and three other springs, Mulco, Ammons and Aragon, which have a combined permit of 1.1 million gallons. Another source – a well at Cave Spring – is not on line due to influence of surface water. “You are maxed out at your permitting capacity at the two on-line sources (springs) on the western end of county,” Wood informed the group. Polk County Water now has about 8,500 customers. Estimates are that this total could reach 12,544 by the year 2016.
In 1994, the system used an average of 1.8 million gallons of water per day. By 2003, this total had increased to an average of 2.16 million gallons. Wood pointed out that Deaton Spring provides a two million capacity. However, moving the water along the 16-inch line to the western section of Polk is limited due to the pumping capabilities at Pine Mountain. Board members discussed the possibility of drilling wells to bring new sources to southern Polk.
It was noted that wells are not as difficult to permit, less expensive to operate and don’t require as much infrastructure as other facilities. Thereafter, the group discussed failed efforts to find water during the 1980s. Wayne Brown explained, “At that time, we were looking for groundwater more than surface water.
Today, we are not seeking groundwater since surface water can be treated.” The panel viewed the possibility of drilling ten wells that produced 200 to 300,000 gallons.
This would provide an additional two million for short and long-term use. Board Chairman Randy Prewett said the meeting gave members opportunity to discuss needs and prioritize a list of projects.
The consensus of the board was to give priority to three: A geological study of the western section of Polk to look at areas for possible groundwater wells, drilled at an approximate cost of $200,000.
Time line would be three to six months. Get three-phase power (from Georgia Power) to the Pine Mountain Booster Pump Station. This would help move water from Deaton Spring, main source on East Side of county, to other areas in Polk. The approximate cost for this project would be $400,000 and should be completed within one year. Wood plans to meet with Georgia Power representatives to determine actual expenditure needed. A new concrete enclosure will be placed at Deaton Spring. This will upgrade the water treatment plant at an estimated cost of $500,000. This project will take an estimated 18 months to complete.
Once these are finished, the board will give consideration to the following: Run a 16-inch water line into the western area of the county at a cost of about $4,000,000. Phase II of this project would include a possible water tank in Prior Station area and a booster station in the western area at an estimated cost of $1,125,000.
In addition, the master plan calls for electric generators to be placed at Deaton Spring treatment plant. Cost for this project, which would provide a back up power source, is estimated at $205,000.
Prewett said cost estimates will be refined and projects will be phased in over the next several years.
“We are setting short and long-term goals as we view projected growth,” he explained. “We are upgrading now to meet current and future needs as more demand is placed on the water system.”