Engineering report for grant highlights WRRWA needs

Published 8:06 am Monday, September 15, 2014

An engineering report released by the Watauga River Regional Water Authority highlights some of the systems needs which led to the system being awarded a state grant to help with system upgrades.
Last week the WRRWA announced it had been awarded a Community Development Block Grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for $525,000.
Bryon Trantham, director of the WRRWA, said the grant was issued to the county “line rehabilitation and infrastructure upkeep” for the North Elizabethton Co-Op. He said the Co-Op will use the grant money to replace aging water lines – some of which are 50 to 60 years old he said – as well as to install pressure reducers.
Trantham released a copy of a preliminary engineering report showing the needs of the North Elizabethton Co-Op and estimated costs of repairs. He said the report was completed by Vaughn & Melton, an engineering firm out of Knoxville, as part of the grant process.
“The purpose of the this project is to replace deteriorating water lines, and thereby reduce high water loss in the most problematic areas of the distribution system,” the report said. “The utility needs to improve their water loss to be financially sound and to be in compliance of the State Comptroller’s Office.”
“Excessive water loss and service disruptions from line breaks are major problems in the distribution,” the report adds. “The community will have more reliable water service if the problematic water mains and service lines are replaced with suitable materials and pressure ratings.”
According to the report, the average monthly water loss experienced by North Elizabethton Co-Op was 50 percent for the 2012-2013 fiscal year – with water losses as high as 62 percent being recorded during that period.
One of the things contributing to the water loss and frequent line breaks according to the report is the age of the system’s infrastructure and the materials used in construction.
“The waterlines installed in the 1970s were constructed of a thin-walled PVC that is brittle and prone to fracture,” the report said. “The frequent water line breaks have resulted in increased water loss, disruption of service, and emptying of the water storage tank.”
The report said the scope of the project to replace the aging infrastructure includes replacing approximately 6,500 feet of six-inch and smaller water lines, two pressure reducing valve stations and incidental appurtenances. Water lines will be replaced on Lacy Hollow Road, Rocky Branch Road, and Holston Mountain Road.
In addition to the line replacement, the utility is also planning to install zone meters at three strategic locations to allow for managing water loss and tracking consumption trends.
According to the report, the estimated construction cost for the project is estimated at $391,250 with a total project cost is estimated at $558,510, which includes estimated costs for engineering, surveying, construction inspections, administrative expenses and other costs which may arise.

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