Polk moves forward with water system

Published 6:33 pm Friday, February 10, 2012

Although Polk County commissioners have been constructing water lines for several years based on need and opportunity, the actual work looks very similar to a plan projected years ago.
Commissioners discussed the future of the county’s water system at a meeting Feb. 6. They asked county engineer Dave Odom to provide the county with estimates of costs for additional work needed for the county water system. This work would include connecting Polk’s Green Creek system, which ends at the Peniel Road intersection of Hwy. 9, to Polk Central School in Mill Spring; connecting Polk Central to the Mill Spring crossroad water line and constructing a storage tank.
Odom said Polk County first began looking at a water system in 2001 with the original plan envisioning bringing a water line from Broad River Water Authority (BRWA) up Sandy Plains Road. The second phase originally was to provide a water storage tank and the third phase was to connect with Columbus, as well as feeding lines up Hwy. 9 and along Hwy. 108.
The county actually took ownership of a main trunk line that runs through Green Creek connecting the systems of the BRWA and the Inman Campobello Water District (ICWD). The county received the line for free and is able to run extensions off the line, with ICWD providing the service. Polk has since run several extensions off that line and has also been extending lines from its well water system that provides water to the middle school and recreation complex. The county has extended that line to the crossroads in Mill Spring and on Feb. 6 approved a bid to connect its Mill Spring system with Columbus at Polk County High School.
“So there’s been a lot of conversation through the years about water systems,” Odom said.
Odom added that what’s been installed to date is not based on that original plan, but is interestingly similar.
The county’s Vision 20/20 comprehensive plan projected that the county’s first phase would be connecting Green Creek to Polk Central, the second phase would be to connect the school with the crossroads, then to run lines along Hwy. 108 to Columbus and construct a storage tank. Phase III was projected in the vision plan to include running water lines along Hwy. 9 to Sunny View.
Commissioners disagreed on whether the county’s not following previous plans was beneficial.
Commissioner Tom Pack said the vision 20/20 map is based on results of surveys completed by residents and the county actually put phase II ahead of phase I.
“It should have followed what people wanted if we’re going to follow the visioning plan,” said Pack.
But commissioner vice-chair Renée McDermott said she was at the visioning committee meetings and the committee assumed that would be the route and created the map without having any information from the people.
“Going from phase II to phase I, I don’t think is that big of a crime,” McDermott said. “Phase II, we have come to learn, is more important than phase I, which was thought of some years ago.”
Polk County has a storage tank located at the middle school campus in Mill Spring, but another larger one will be needed. A pump will also be needed for the Hwy. 9 line in Mill Spring, which will also require boring under U.S. 74.
Odom estimated that a 250,000-gallon storage tank would cost approximately $150,000. He suggested it be placed off Silver Creek Road or off Peniel Road because of the elevation needed for the tank.
Commissioners also asked Odom to conduct a survey of residents along Hwy. 9 to see how many would be interested in becoming water customers.