Polk County to explore connecting Sunny View School to Lake Lure water

Published 1:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

by Leah Justice

With another problem with the Sunny View School well system, superintendent Bill Miller asked Polk County Commissioners if they would consider connecting the school to the Lake Lure water system for a permanent solution.
Commissioners met Monday, June 17 and heard from Miller and county engineer Dave Odom who is designing repairs to the water tank, which is leaking, at the school.
Miller said a few years back there was another problem with the well at Sunny View and he sees a more permanent fix as connecting to water from nearby Lake Lure if it’s feasible. The school system has obtained bids to fix the leak with the latest being $50,000.
“I just feel like that $50,000 would be better spent on a permanent solution,” Miller said. “Could any consideration be given for a long-term solution for us?”
Odom said the total project of running a water line to Lake Lure would cost $385,000, but his engineering fees could be taken out because he contracts with the county as well as the $50,000 the school system would contribute. A more feasible number he said would be about $350,000 for the total project, including fire hydrants.
Commissioners unanimously approved directing interim county manager Marche Pittman working with Lake Lure on an interlocal agreement and to explore costs if Lake Lure agrees to supply the school with water. Commissioners also said the estimates should include a fire hydrant for the Sunny View Fire Department, which is just across the street from the school.
Miller said within the last five years the school system has had to upgrade the well due to state requirements, with Miller estimating it cost about $30,000. He said 10 to 12 years ago, the well had problems and at that time the school system asked commissioners if there was a way to run public water, but at that time there were no options. Lake Lure now supplies water to Ingles along Hwy. 9. Odom said the water line at Ingles is approximately 13,000 feet from the school.
Miller said the current problem is that a leak sprung in the school’s holding tank.
“The state really wants schools to be on public systems,” Miller said.
Odom said he has had an initial conversation with the Lake Lure manager, who indicated his board would likely look favorably on running water to the school. Lake Lure’s council would have to approve running a water line into Polk County before an agreement could be entered.
Odom also said if the line was constructed, the water line would be owned by Rutherford County to the county line and by Polk County from the county line to the school.
“We couldn’t extend into Rutherford County and they couldn’t extend into Polk County,” Odom said, “not without each other’s permission.”
Miller also discussed flow issues with the well at Sunny View. He said the well at one time was producing 23 gallons per minute and it is currently down to six gallons per minute. Miller said it won’t be too long where another well would have to be drilled and the school would have to find another location because there’s not enough room near the current well due to distance regulations. The tank is also located on property not county-owned.
Odom said drilling a new public well would cost between $50,000 and $100,000. Commissioner chair Michael Gage asked Odom if he would consider the current water situation at Sunny View an emergency.
Odom said something has to be done with the tank because it’s leaking. And with the well, the flow is only going to get less.
“Let’s say it’s a critical situation that needs to be addressed,” Odom said.

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