Polk-to-Columbus water line under way

Published 5:28 pm Monday, June 4, 2012

Construction is under way on the water line connecting wells at Polk County’s middle school and recreation complex to Columbus’ water system. (photo by Leah Justice)

Drivers heading to Polk County High School and Polk County Middle School during the last week of school will continue to experience traffic stops between the two schools along Hwy. 108 because of the construction of a water line.
The construction, which began a few weeks ago, includes the installation of approximately two miles of water line connecting Polk County’s middle school and recreation complex wells to the Town of Columbus’ water system.
Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said the construction is scheduled take another two months. The county has picked up 22 customers so far along the line, including two taps for Midway Baptist Church and one tap each for Giardini’s and Gallant Enterprises LLC.
Polk County commissioners approved in February a bid from Steppe Construction to construct the line for $592,000.
Whitson said contractors ran into rock near the high school, which was expected, but there was enough in the contingency fund to cover the costs. The scheduled completion date of the project will depend on how much rock is hit during construction, but so far the budget is on track, according to Whitson.
The 12-inch water line includes the installation of 10 fire hydrants, and one of the last phases of the project will include the installation of a pump station near the high school. The water line construction began at the high school and will end at Wolverine Trail, connecting the two systems.
Polk commissioners and Columbus Town Council each approved a water interconnect agreement earlier this year that details how the two entities will purchase water from each other. Polk County decided during joint meetings between the county, towns of Columbus and Tryon and City of Saluda to pay for the interconnect in order to have back-up water for all Polk County governments. Tryon is already connected to Columbus and Saluda.
The county/Columbus interconnect will mean that all three towns and the county’s well water system are connected.
Polk County is also discussing future water connections from its Green Creek Broad River Water Authority line to the rest of the county for a future county-wide water system.
Polk County owns Lake Adger for a future water source and is currently awaiting state approval of a reclassification of the Green River watershed and is working toward gaining enough water customers by extending water lines in order to one day construct a water plant to pull water from the lake.

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