After avoiding a serious water issue last week, Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Woody Fields told members of the Evarts City Council at a recent meeting a new 15 hp Grundfos pump had to be purchased for one of the city’s wells at Dartmont.
“Last Friday we had a new pump installed on one of the wells at Dartmont,” said Fields. “It’s one of the wells that is about 300 feet deep. The pump that was in there was a 5 hp pump. It wouldn’t produce but about 30 gallons per minute. What we did, we had those two wells working together producing a total of 60-70 gallons per minute. Right now our water table for the raw water is really low. To offset that we purchased a new pump from Service Pump Supply for approximately $10,000. This is giving us 120 to 140 gallons of water per minute compared to the 60-70 per minute we were getting.”
Fields said by installing this new pump this has allowed him to turn off the number one well at the water plant that “puts out a lot of iron and causes a lot of problems for the water system.”
“People at the end of the lines, especially down in Jones Creek will complain of a reddish tint water, which is from the iron,” said Fields. “If we hold steady with this new pump, which has a variable speed drive we added on which was about $2,500, but it allows us to use that pump and if we don’t need that much water we can scale it back in order to conserve the water in the well to save it for the time when we do need it.”
Fields said last Thursday night he had to “empty out the systems” and he said if the new pump hadn’t been installed when it was “more than a quarter of the city’s customers would have been without water for two or three weeks waiting on the pump to get in,” if they had waited for the purchase.
“We did have less than 100 customers who without water about a day and a half,” said Fields. “When we got that pump in line and turned on we were able to get the tanks topped off in less than two days and everybody back with water. Not only does this help with the water supply, but if we had had any issues with a fire, our water levels were so low in the tanks, in just a few minutes someone could have lost all of their property because we didn’t have the water to fight a fire. It was a safety concern as well.
“Having said that, with the money we spent on the well, due to chemical costs, electric charges from using the older pump at the plant, and this one with the variable speed, I’m sure we can re-coop that money relatively fast considering all the new upgrades to it — the variable speed and fewer chemicals. That will make a significant difference. It will pay for itself in time. This was a project that was desperately needed.”
Fields said they are not using the number one well at this time. He said that will save the city money on chemical purchases.
Mayor Eddie Manning told council members Fields approached him approximately two weeks ago telling him he was having some “real issues at the water plant.”
“You guys have heard us talk about this for the past five years,” said Manning. “It’s the same issues we’ve always had. Our raw water intake is just not enough when things are dry to service all of our customers, plus all the customers we wholesale to Black Mountain Utility District. Me, Woody and Cledo (Powers) sat down and decided to order this pump to help us. You guys just don’t know how close it was to our customers being without water for two or three weeks. We are back to normal now without any water quality issues at the number one well that puts out so much iron.”
Fields said in a month’s time, the city spends approximately $1,200 to $1,500 per month for chemicals. He said this new pump with help in eliminating a lot of those costs.
Manning added the driest times for their water supply are between August and October, as far as their mine water supply.
“We start picking back up sometimes in November, depending on the weather we get, but it has been a cat and mouse game with the mine supply for the last several years. Last year it held up pretty good because of the rain we received,” said Fields. “By the end of the week everybody should have plenty of good fresh water.”
Manning reminded council members the city’s water plant has been “added to and added to for the last 20 years.”
“We’re going to have to eventually talk about fixing our water plant for the future,” said Manning. “Our water services customers from the Black Joe area to the Virginia line. I think people on Clover Fork deserve clean water and we have to make sure we stay on top of this issue.”
Powers added he feels another well needs to be considered in the future and he recommended it be done by “next year.”
City Clerk Kristi Lamb then told members of the council a very low interest rate loan through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority and the Kentucky Division of Water has just become available, after having been applied for back in 2010, and the city now has the opportunity to borrow $275,000 on a 20-year plan for a raw water supply line as well as upgrades for the Evarts Water Plant with this loan.
A motion was made and approved to submit an application for the loan. All members agreed.
“This will get us an extra well so if the mine supply is gone we will still have enough water to supply our customers,” said Fields. “There will be engineering fees and upgrades to the water plant, things that we need right now… and to get us in compliance with the state. It won’t fix everything, but it will be a big help.”
In other action:
*A motion was approved to make all parking on Yocum Street/KY 215 and Bridge Street/KY 215 a two-hour limit between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Signs will be purchased and posted on both streets;
*A motion was approved to purchase a snow plow and salt box for the city;
*Fire Chief Cledo Powers reported the fire department will be distributing treats on Halloween at the fire station. They will also be assisting the police department during trick or treat hours on Halloween;
*Police Chief Lupe Blas reported his department has increased patrols on Evarts Hill and has now developed a log showing where they are patrolling and how often to ensure every area of the city is being monitored equally;
*Went into executive session per KRS 61.810 for pending litigation. Council returned with no action taken.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde