Polk proposes water line to Polk Central

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Engineer estimates cost at $656K
Polk County commissioners are considering replacing the well system at Polk Central Elementary School in Mill Spring with public water by extending a water line from the county’s system in Green Creek.
County engineer Dave Odom told commissioners at their meeting Monday, Jan. 24 the project is viable. He estimated it would cost $656,311.
Polk County owns a main trunk water line that connects the Broad River Water Authority and the Inman Campobello Water District. The county is able to extend water lines off the main line.
The county recently agreed to extend water service from the crossroads of Hwy. 9 and Landrum Road in Green Creek up Hwy. 9 to the Peniel Road intersection. The additional line to Polk Central would continue that extension farther up Hwy. 9 to the school.
The county decided to hold off seeking bids until attorney Mike Egan can research some issues related to the bid process.
Commissioner Ted Owen suggested Egan find out whether Polk County can institute a procedure similar to one the state instated recently, called Order No. 50.
North Carolina’s Order No. 50 gives state-based businesses a chance, if they are not the lowest bidder, to match the low bid if the contractor’s original bid is within 5 percent, or $10,000, of the lowest bid. Owens said he is interested in giving Polk County-based businesses the same chance.
Commissioners met with Polk County Schools Superintendent Bill Miller Monday, who discussed how advantageous it would be for the school to connect to a public water system.
“The opportunity to have public water at Polk Central School would benefit the school system tremendously,” Miller said. “The biggest advantage is getting Polk County Schools out of the water business. We are educators, not water system experts. We have run the system because it was the only option and we will continue to do so if necessary. However, connection to a public run water system is the best possible solution for the schools.”
Miller said the state informed the school system that it has until July 2011 to complete upgrades to the Polk Central well system, which will cost the school between $30,000 and $40,000.
Polk Central and Sunny View Elementary are the only schools in the county that depend on private well and septic systems. Sunny View’s wells were upgraded last year.
Odom said needed pressure could be supplied to the school,  based on a pressure test done at the intersection of Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 108. He said the longest portion of the project would be receiving state permits because the project would require boring under U.S. 74 and crossing several streams.
Odom also estimated between five and 10 rights of way would need to be secured from private landowners, but most of the water line could run along N.C. Department of Transportation rights of way.
“The capacity is there and it is a viable project,” said Odom.
The county will likely not be able to complete the project prior to the school system’s July deadline for upgrades to its well system. If Polk decides to run the water line, the school system could opt to be fined penalties by the state for not completing upgrades by the deadline while waiting on the water line construction.
Commissioners will likely discuss estimates to send the project out to bid during a February meeting.

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