Polk goes out to bid for county/Columbus water line

Published 11:42 am Friday, November 25, 2011

Cost estimated at $488,390

Polk County is moving forward to connect its Mill Spring water source to the Town of Columbus.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Nov. 21 and approved going out to bid on the interconnect after obtaining an engineering estimate of $488,390. The vote to go out to bid was approved 4 to 1, with commissioner Tom Pack opposed.

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Polk County offered to run the water line to Columbus during a joint county/town meeting in September. The county has also asked Columbus to maintain its water and sewer system at the middle school campus.

Polk officials said they want to have backup to the Mill Spring complex well system, which serves the Polk County Middle School and recreation complex and will soon serve the new department of social services (DSS) building. Columbus, Saluda and Tryon officials said the interconnect will be positive on several levels, including serving as a backup to Columbus, as well as connecting all four systems within Polk County. Columbus, Saluda and Tryon have connecting water systems. In addition, the interconnect will allow Polk and its towns to be connected regionally, as Polk County is connected to the Broad River Water Authority and Inman Campobello Water District and Saluda is connected to Hendersonville, which is connected to Asheville.

“For me, for the first time ever, all four water systems will be connected,” said commissioner chair Ray Gasperson. “There have been talks of a water authority in the future. This is truly a major step in that direction.”

The county’s bid for the project will include an estimated $300,000 worth of 12-inch pipe, an estimated $75,000 pump station and 10 fire hydrants estimated at $27,000 ($2,700 each). The connection would be from the middle school to the high school along Hwy. 108, which is an estimated 2 miles.

Commissioners also discussed adding a ¼- to ½-mile extension down Hwy. 9 during construction to take advantage of a property owner who has agreed to provide a right of way. The addition will likely be added to the project later.

County engineer Dave Odom attended last week’s meeting to review the estimate.

Odom said the route will be on the north side of the road and there is an estimated nine rights of way to be obtained. The county will offer free taps to the line in exchange for a right of way. Odom said he plans to send out letters to all property owners along the line to alert them the county is going out for bid.

Commissioners decided to wait until after the holidays to open bids. Bids will likely be open during the county’s second meeting in January.

Odom also provided commissioners with an estimate to run a water line from Hwy. 108 in Mill Spring to Polk Central School on Hwy. 9.

For a 12-inch line the estimate is $1,390,145 and for a 16-inch line the estimate is $1,839,545. Commissioners said they plan to discuss the Hwy. 9 water line during a work session to be held at the beginning of 2012.

Polk County, Columbus, Saluda and Tryon have another joint meeting scheduled for Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at Columbus Town Hall.