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County doing things with water system

August 17, 2012
The Herald-Star

The infrastructure under many area communities was built 30, 50, maybe even 100 years ago.

Water systems in particular were added onto over the years as the population grew or shifted in the communities.

Many water systems today in the area, and across the country, are in desperate need of repair or replacement.

The newspaper routinely details boil orders from communities that experienced a break because of aging water lines.

The Jefferson County Water and Sewer District is facing a problem in the southern part of the county. The water lines installed to supply customers with water have become inadequate because of the number of homes and businesses on the line.

The original pumping station built in 1978 initially served about 240 customers. Today, the number of customers is 1,100.

The pumping station and the main water lines have trouble pushing enough water. The county added Smithfield and Piney Fork areas to the line over the years. Smithfield routinely has breaks that cause its water tower to empty, putting more strain on the county's pumps.

The county is almost ready to advertise for bids to replace the water pumping station in Brilliant and about 4.5 miles of water lines to the New Alexandria tank that will improve the county's ability to supply an adequate amount of water.

The county received a low-interest loan through the state for the project, estimated at about $3 million.

The county about eight years ago installed a new water transmission line from the Toronto water plant to the county's service complex on state Route 43 at a cost of $2.5 million.

The county has been proactive in trying to keep up with its water system.

There are many people in the county who are desperate for water. The cost of installing the lines varies, but it is still very expensive to the homeowners.

The county over the years recognized capital improvement projects are needed to maintain a properly working water system. Residents pay a monthly bill to the county and expect water to flow out of the faucet. Maintaining the system needs to be a priority.

There once was a time when there were state and federal grants to help finance water projects. That money has dried up, leaving financially strapped communities trying to pay for expensive improvements. The result is many systems getting older without upgrades.

The county is doing the right thing in taking the proactive approach and working to make improvements to provide the necessary service of water.

 
 

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