Polk County looks to hook up to Lake Lure water

Published 1:41 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An idea posed this week by Polk County commissioner Warren Watson could alleviate some water source issues in Sunny View.

Commissioners decided to look into purchasing water from nearby Lake Lure to give Sunny View Fire and Rescue a public water source.

The county has been discussing the lack of public water for the fire department the last few meetings. Sunny View recently requested a tax increase for next fiscal year in order to secure more ponds with dry hydrants. The county had planned a public hearing to determine whether residents support a tax increase and to get ideas on what residents want in terms of water sources. The public hearing was later canceled when the fire department withdrew its request for a tax increase, saying it didnt want to burden the residents and that department officials didnt feel they had the support of commissioners for a tax increase.

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Commissioners heard Monday from commissioner Watson, who said since its only a couple of miles to Lake Lure, the solution could be viable and should be considered.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said he spoke with a Lake Lure official on Monday who said he was interested, but it would depend on what city council wanted and if there is enough capacity. Polk officials said they think the Town of Lake Lure gets its water from Lake Lure.

Sunny View Elementary School, which currently depends on wells could also benefit from Lake Lure water. In addition, residents along Hwy. 9 could have the option of connecting to public water. About 25 houses and businesses are located along the route to the school.

Watson told commissioners that he is uncertain when or whether the county will run a water line in Sunny View. He said the county should consider what it did in Green Creek, which was purchasing water from someone else.

Polk County has developed a water system in the Green Creek area after agreeing for the Broad River Water Authority to connect through Polk with the Inman Campobello Water District (ICWD). Polk owns the main line through the county and is able to extend water lines and purchase water from ICWD for Polk customers.

The county has also purchased Lake Adger and is planning to construct a water plant at transfer station property in the future once about 1,000 customers are secured.

With future water along this section of Hwy. 9 in Polk County so far into the future, it just seems like a logical thing to consider, said Watson.

He added that he knows it cant happen in the upcoming budget year, but he doesnt want to wait until next budget year to begin considering options.

The distance between the Lake Lure water tower and the Sunny View school and fire department is just over 2 miles.

Sunny View Fire Chief Marty McGuinn and assistant chief Bob Shepherd said having the public water option would help a great deal. Sunny View fire&bsp; officials and commissioners said that some remote areas in Sunny View would still need additional ponds with dry hydrants.

Watson also said that in the future the partnership could mean Lake Lure could eventually purchase water from Polk County once Lake Adger is being used as Polks water source. He said once the economy gets healthier and development rises in Lake Lure, the town may not have enough capacity. Since the lines will already be there, Lake Lure could easily get water from Polk.

It would be a great relationship and would show the state were trying to collaborate with other areas, Watson said.

Commissioners and Whitson discussed what the costs could be on Monday. Whitson said based on other estimates within the county for a 12-inch line, it could cost about $400,000. Whitson estimated a meter and vault at $100,000.

Commissioners directed Whitson to research what the costs would be for the line and fire hydrants along the route.