Polk goes out to bid to connect its water systems

Published 1:42pm Thursday, January 10, 2013

Engineer estimates costs at $1.1M

Polk County continues to connect the dots with water line extensions around the county and now plans to connect its two systems.

On Monday, Jan. 7, commissioners met and approved going out to bid for a water line that would connect water lines from Hwy. 9 to Hwy. 108, from the Peniel Road intersection along Hwy. 9 in Green Creek to the Hwy. 108 intersection in Mill Spring.

The motion to go out to bid was approved by a 4-1 vote with commissioner Ray Gasperson voting against.

Commissioner Tom Pack suggested going out to bids on the water line after saying engineer David Odom estimated the costs at $1,183,743.

Pack showed a map from the county’s Vision 20/20 comprehensive plan and said the county has jumped ahead of the plan. Originally, he said, Phase I of the main trunk lines in the county were planned to be from Peniel Road to Mill Spring (along Hwy. 9). Pack said last year the board jumped ahead and did Phase II.

“I want to put it out to bid and get a firm price,” Pack said.

Commissioner chair Michael Gage asked what this water line would mean in terms of being connected regionally.

Pack said this would mean Asheville to Charlotte would be tied together, once Saluda gets an issue corrected in order to be connected to Tryon.

“Polk County is back in a moderate drought situation,” Pack said. “South Carolina is either in a moderate or severe drought so I think we need to go ahead and get this in place. Lake Hartwell is also really low. It may come up in the next year or two that Polk County needs water and needs to be able to move water in the county.”

Gage added that this would also run county water to Polk Central School, which currently operates on a well system.

“This is what the intended course was to be,” said Gage.

Gasperson said he’s spoken over the last few years about how much he sees the water line as a vital link and how indeed it is a part of the 20/20 vision plan.

“My concern is I wish the agenda item would have been more specific,” said Gasperson. “I’m put in an awkward position because I support it but don’t feel comfortable right now. There was no information and citizens didn’t know to come if they wished to speak on it.”

Pack responded that the county is just going out to bids and he didn’t want the agenda item to be too restrictive in case commissioners wanted to discuss other areas.

The agenda item stated “waterline extensions.”

Pack said Odom’s estimates are usually high and he just wants to see what the actual bid will be.

“We’re talking months before we could even break ground,” Pack said.

Odom’s estimate includes $644,000 for 28,000 linear feet of 12-inch pipe, $20,000 for a creek crossing, $36,400 for 13 fire hydrants, $60,000 for a 24-inch under bore (under U.S. 74) and $125,000 for a booster pump station, among other less costly line items to the project. The estimate also includes a 10-percent contingency, $58,698 in engineering services, $19,566 in survey fees and $29,349 for construction administration.

Odom estimates the timeline to include seven weeks for design, two weeks to bid and eight to 10 weeks for the approval process for a total of 15 to 17 weeks to break ground.

If the water line is completed it will mean both Polk County’s water systems are connected. Polk County’s well system at the middle school campus is already connected to Columbus’ water system, which is connected to Tryon, which is connected to Saluda. Saluda receives its water from Hendersonville, which is connected to Asheville.

Polk County’s Green Creek system which will be connected to its well system with this line comes from the Broad River Water Authority, which gave Polk County a main water lines and rights to pull water in order to connect to the Inman-Campobello Water District.

Polk County has future plans to build a water plant on transfer station property off Hwy. 9 North, between Mill Spring and Sunny View to pull water from Lake Adger, which the county owns. The county is still awaiting state approval to have a new Lake Adger watershed approved and will have to acquire at least 1,000 customers before creating the Lake Adger water system.

It is not yet known how many customers the county could acquire with the new water line extension.




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