Water project discussed at called City Council Meeting

Last night at a called Italy City Council meeting the question was asked, “How long will our water system last?” Dean Carrell (Public Works Director) tried to answer this question with a power point presentation and explained how some equipment just didn’t work any more, how there were too many repairs being done to the point where they will not be able to be repaired again.

Carrell said one of the most complaints about our water is the odor and the taste. He explained that chlorine was the biggest problem. They have been adding phosphates which have helped a little.
He went on to list several things that were in bad shape.

The main power panel door where controls for the pumps are housed, the door is rusted out. When it rains the bottom fills with water in the box and just to the right of the box is the 240v motor controls.

There are two more motor control boxes and all the motor controls have been replaced due to bad wiring and water. He said replacement will happen again, at an extra cost that is not within the budget plan.

Wells 1,2, and 3 run into the cool chiller to the clear well. Belts have been replaced three times since October 2010. The water is protected only by screens. Bugs and other contaminants get into our drinking water.

The clear well is seventy years old and still in operation. The clear well hatch door is rusted and this is the entrance to our drinking water.

The emergency back-up piping, controls and pump does not work.

One section of a water line is held by one clamp. Without this clamp the city would not get water. If the line breaks the water can’t get out.

The 460/480v three phase motor control is wide open. Very dangerous.

On one of the motor starters the flow chart does not work nor does the middle control box work.

Jenna Chambers presented a bench mark on our water. She said you have two different groups of people. One group doesn’t like the taste of the water and they say it ruins their clothes. The other group have been born and raised here and have no problem with the water.

She explained that the TCEQ has written up the city for not having enough water production and it could turn into fines.

Darren Walloch with Government Capital said his company specializes is figuring out if you can afford the financing on what you want to borrow. They help you with ideas on what you really need and what you can afford. They then take it to the lender. They do three hundred loans a year for small towns like ours to help with water and other projects.

Scott Hoelvle with KSA Engineering gave us the cost estimate of $2,610,000.00 to do the water project.

The break down is as follows:

500,000 gallon concrete ground storage tank with baffle (2/3 buried)-$825,000
Property acquisition/site preparation-$150,000
High service pumps (vertical turbine)-$150,000
Chemical building $200,000
Scada system-$100,000
Upgrade wells #1 and #2 (250 gallons per minute each)-$300,000
Additional/modified cooling facilities-$100,000
Radio read water meters-$250,000
Standby generator-$100,000
Engineering, administrative, financial and contingencies (20%)-$435,000
Equalling:  $2,610,000

Terri Murdoch explained Dean Carrell has a salaried position, however he has worked one hundred and thirty four hours over his forty hour work weeks and has gone above and beyond to work on water problems. Because of leaks in water lines, repairs and other problems employees are racking up comp time. Then when they get the opportunity to take their comp days the city then needs to bring in existing employees to take up the slack gaining additional comp time. This is because they have a small department with big issues.

Murdoch did say that they changed the electric provider and for the last year and a half the cost has gone down.

The council will review the costs and the information they were given and go from there.

All council members were present with the exception of Mark Sounder Sr.