Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Water District line flushing completed ahead of schedule

J-E News Editor
2014 continues to be a high production year for the Webster County Water District (WCWD), with production numbers topping those from 2013 in 8 of the first 9 months of the year. Overall WCWD has produced 18.4 million more gallons this year than last. Even more importantly, water sales are up and less water is being lost to line flushing.
As water flows through the system, lines begin to accumulate build-ups of sediment. These build-ups are especially bad in low flow and dead end lines, where water may stay for longer periods of time. These build-ups naturally occur for various reasons over time in all water systems, and if left unchecked can result in a drop in water quality and can affect the taste, clarity, and color of the water. 

Water districts combat this build-up by frequently flushing their lines. As the build-up can also contribute to the growth of micro-organisms within the lines, districts must also feed higher levels of bacteria killing chlorine.
A year and a half ago the district began feeding a chemical called Oracle. That chemical loosens the build-up that accumulates in water-lines, allowing it to more easily and quickly be flushed from lines. 
“What we’ve found is that our chlorine demand has gone down and we’re not flushing as much or nearly as long as we used to,” said WCWD superintendent Paul Lashbrook. “This is going to save us a lot over time because of the water we normally lose to flushing.”
“It’s definitely helping us,” said assistant superintendent Robert Schindley. “We’re not having to feed as much chlorine. What we’re using stays longer.”
WCWD has been flushing lines the last two weeks, but that was scheduled to be completed on Friday.
Customer request
Lashrbook told the board member of WCWD that a resident of Highway 1835 had contacted him recently asking that the district wave or reduce the tap fee for new service he was looking at installing.
He explained that in 1978 the district added water service on Highway 1835. At that time it was standard procedure for contractors to install the meter box during the initial installation, a practice that has since been ceased. Currently meter boxes are not installed until the property owner pays the fee.
“I told him that I doubted the board would do anything,” Lashbrook said.
“We have to treat everyone exactly the same,” said board member Tommy Chandler.
“Otherwise we’ve broken our own policy,” added board chairman Jimmie Frederick. “Once you get to making those kind of deals, you forget what deals you’ve made. It’s a lot easier to just stick with your policy.”
The board voted unanimously to deny the request.
Sebree Coal meeting
Lashbrook informed the board that he was scheduled to meet with engineers from Sebree Mining on Friday. The mine is preparing to install a beltline to carry ‘gob’ from the prep plant to a location on the west side of Highway 370. That belt line will go over Steamport Road, then beneath the Pennyrile Parkway on the east side of 370 and then over the highway once it clears the parkway overpass.
The district’s concern is that the point at which the beltline cross beneath the parkway is already a congested area. The small space already includes buried gas mains, fiber optic lines and the 12 inch main that carries water from WCWD’s plant in Onton to most of the county.
“That will put a lot of movement and ground shaking in that one area,” said Frederick. “I think we need to look at who is responsible if once they get the belt in the water line breaks.”
If that line were to break, it would put 95% of WCWD customers in the county on a boil water advisory for at least 36 hours.
Robert Schindley pointed out that this was not his only concern. He was also worried that if the water main did break in that area, they might not be able to access it without removing the mine’s beltline.
Board members, who said they’ve always worked well with the mine in the past, aren’t seeking to stop construction of the belt, they simply requested Lashbrook to find out who would be responsible if any of these situations arise.

Reach MATT HUGHES at 270-667-2068 or

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