Tryon finishes water plant rehabilitation

Published 11:12 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tryon water building after rehabilitation. (photo by Leah Justice)

The Town of Tryon should soon know how much additional water will be acquired from its mountain water source.
The long-awaited work on the town’s intakes for its mountain water source was completed last week. Testing for the source at the town’s newly updated water plant off Carolina Drive is scheduled for later this week to determine how much water can be acquired.
Last week’s work on the intakes was the final stage of the town’s water plant rehabilitation project, which has been ongoing for over two years. The town financed approximately $3 million for the project.
Part of the rehabilitation was to give the town a water source in addition to Lake Lanier. The rehab will enable the town to soon use its former mountain water source, which is gravity fed and should save the town money in pumping costs.
“We will be doing testing of the water either Wednesday or Thursday of this week,” said water plant supervisor Betty Jones.

Tryon water building before renovations. (photo submitted by Tryon Water Plant Supervisor Betty Jones)

Jones said the plan is for the town to have three options in water sources. The town can use only Lake Lanier water, only mountain water or a combination of the two sources.
Jones said estimates are that the mountain water source will give the town almost 600,000 additional gallons of water per day, but the exact pressure and flow will not be known until the testing is complete. Town officials have estimated the source will yield 400 gallons per minute.
During the town’s last council meeting, held on Aug. 16, councilman Austin Chapman expressed concern over delays in the intake work. The water plant rehab has been 99 percent complete since last year; work on the intakes on Fork and Colt creeks has been awaiting heavy rains for sedimentation. The original project was scheduled to take one year, between April 2009 and April 2010.
Tryon Town Manager Justin Hembree told council on Aug. 16 that contractors were waiting for a rain system to be predicted in order for the water to have sedimentation. Hembree said last week when the intakes were checked, there was enough sedimentation to go ahead and complete the work.
In April of this year, Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples expressed frustration that other delays were costing the town money because of having to pump out of Lake Lanier.
At one point the project was delayed as a result of the Tryon Garden Club’s concern over silt; the club owns the easement to the town’s property on which the intakes are located. Other delays occurred this spring because of trout spawning season, when the work could not be completed.
The water plant on Carolina Drive was completely renovated, with the addition of an outdoor building completed last year. Work to the water plant included renovating the old water plant building into offices, with the downstairs of the old building converted into the chemical plant.
The upgrades have also included replacing eight chemical feed pumps and fixing the old water plant roof, among other work.
The town’s water plant first went online in 1988. The rehabilitation project was required for the plant to meet current state guidelines.
Prior to 1988, mountain water was Tryon’s only water source, but the town abandoned the mountain water when it constructed the water plant and began using water from Lake Lanier. The town owns the bed of Lake Lanier and has jurisdiction over the water.
Following a drought in 2003, when the town had to impose mandatory water restrictions, officials decided while the town was upgrading the water plant, it should also make changes that would allow mountain water to be available as a water source.
The turbidity of Lake Lanier and the mountain water is different, so different processing is necessary to combine the two sources.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox