City takes final step toward water plant expansion
By Chris Berendt Staff Writer
The final piece is now in place for the start of Clinton’s water plant expansion, expected to begin this summer.
City Council approved the acquisition of the second of two tracts of land that will serve as well sites. The water treatment plant expansion, a $5 million project that will double the size of the plant and establish a redundant water line, will ensure the city has an adequate water supply for the next 20 to 30 years.
There are currently 10 city wells and the expansion, along with doubling the plant’s size, will also add six more wells. With those sites now designated, the project is expected to begin in earnest.
“This is the final piece to move forward with our water plant project,” city manager Shawn Purvis said.
In January 2013, the City Council directed city staff to open negotiations with two property owners for acquisition of well sites toward expanding the water plant. A year later, the city has what it needs.
The initial go-ahead for a comprehensive water system upgrade by which the existing plant would be expanded, a redundant line built and a system established to reclaim and reuse wastewater was given by the Council in 2011. Formal approval for the expansion and redundant line came in 2012. Proper design, permitting and land acquisition followed.
The city acquired the first site in spring 2013 and the second site was officially acquired earlier this week, with the property owner accepting an offer of $25,000, the same price as the other site.
“The terms were actually agreed on pretty quickly. We purchased one of the sites last March and the second site, we agreed on terms but it just took a little while to get some of the paperwork,” said Purvis. “The paperwork is all ready now.”
In all, the project will expand the water treatment plant by 1.5 million gallons per day, to include the construction of the six new wells (four shallow, two deep) with related piping. The redundant line would be similar to one that currently runs along Clive Jacobs Road and Old Warsaw Road and is responsible for approximately one-quarter of the city’s water flow. The back-up option was sought in case the existing line should be severed.
A water system must meet the maximum daily demand (MDD), the average of the two highest consecutive days’ demand. For a groundwater system, the supply equals the 12-hour well pumping rate, which for Clinton is currently around 2.87 million gallons. Engineers said the city’s 12-hour pumping rate should be more than the MDD, which is currently 3.2 million gallons per day.
With the expansion, the 12-hour water supply would be able to increase to 4.37 million gallons per day and serve the MDD until about 2030, while also providing short-term water capacity the city could sell in the interim as more than the maximum demand is being met. The expansion, along with the construction of a nearly $2 million elevated water tank as part of a separate project, is also expected to make a water customer of Smithfield Foods Inc., which has expressed interest in having the ability to rest their two wells by purchasing city water.
The MDD with Smithfield as a customer would jump up to around 4 million gallons and continue to rise to around 4.23 million by 2030.
The total expansion will be financed with a 40-year USDA loan at 2.75 percent interest, for an annual payment of about $200,000, although city officials have said they want to stretch payments out over four decades.
“We would expect to begin construction this summer and complete the project within 12 months from the start date,” Purvis said.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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