Saluda improves water loss to 18 percent

Published 10:06 pm Monday, January 1, 2018

Saluda was losing 70-80 percent of its water a couple of years ago

SALUDA – Saluda City Manager Jonathan Cannon recognized the hard work the public works department has put in repairing leaks to the water system that has improved the city’s water loss to 18 percent.


Saluda City Council met Dec. 11 and heard from Cannon regarding the recent numbers.


Cannon said the city has been reviewing the water loss reports for the last four months and the city is currently at 18 percent water loss. He said a couple of years ago the city was losing 70-80 percent of its water through leaks. The city recently dropped that to a 40 percent water loss and now is less than 20 percent.


“It’s actually showing up in our numbers for what we are buying from Hendersonville,” Cannon said. “We are now on budget. Our public works employees have been working hard. They deserve appreciation for that work.”


Public works was working another break last Thursday that caused water outages in town. The water outages were caused by a ruptured water main on Ozone Drive. Public works began working on the break early Thursday morning.


Saluda purchases its water from the City of Hendersonville and as of May last year, the city had decreased its water loss from 80 percent to 40 percent. In the spring, the city was purchasing 70,000 gallons per day from Hendersonville, compared to purchasing approximately 100,000 gallons per day the previous year.


One major water leak found on Greenville Street gave the city a $2,100 per month reduction in water purchases from Hendersonville. The leak behind the fire station on Greenville Street was estimated to be wasting $50,000-60,000 gallons of water per day.


Since that fix the city has found other leaks in order to bring the water loss to under 20 percent.


Saluda has been approved to receive a $1.9 million USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) loan to complete approximately 16 projects to fix water and sewer issues in the city. Saluda has already implemented some water and sewer rate increases with another increase planned for 2018 to pay back the loan.


During the city’s November meeting, Cannon updated commissioners on the USDA loan process. Cannon said the N.C. Department of Transportation has to approve permits and the city has to work with a bond counsel or bond attorney in order to work through some processes. Saluda also has to get N.C. Local Government Commission (LGC) approval.


Cannon said he anticipates plans will be completed by the first of 2018 with those going to the state and to USDA. He anticipates the city can release bids in February and open bids in March for the projects and then get on the contractor’s schedule.


“We anticipate a pre-construction meeting to be in June if everything goes smoothly,” Cannon said.


He also said the construction should take approximately one year.