By REBECCA HAZEN
The Dade County Water and Sewer Authority has submitted applications for projects to be considered for Congressionally Directed Spending.
“Since we got turned down for the grants, we have been made aware that there is some Congressionally Directed Spending money available. I have taken all the grant requests that we got turned down on before and have resubmitted them. I have gotten a little bit of feedback, so at least they are looking at them, which is a plus,” General Manager Sherri Walker said, during the meeting on Tuesday, April 26.
“Senator Warnock’s office has contacted us, and they are looking into this. Also, Senator Mullis is looking into this,” Chair Eddie Cantrell added.
The funding requests have been submitted for the following projects:
A raw water intake screen system project would cost $549,700. The existing intake screen (baskets) are not removing all debris and have allowed clogging of the recently replaced intake pumps. The goal is to eliminate the damage occurring to the intake pumps and to eliminate the potential for losing almost 90 percent of the system’s raw water if both intake pumps are shut down with clogging issues.
A Vanguard Industrial Road project would cost $378,125. The goal of this project is to create a redundant water main feed for the Dade County Industrial Park and all customers in the north end of Dade County. Undersized, aging water pipes experience frequent breaks that restricts flow into the Industrial Park and residents to the north until repairs can be accomplished.
A State Route 299 water main upgrade project would cost $769,688. Inadequate flow and frequent breaks necessitate the need for line replacement in this area to support residential and retail facilities.
A State Route 157 and Highway 189 water main upgrade project would cost $3,729,100. These upgrades will improve the ability to transport water over the distribution system more efficiently.
A New Salem water main upgrade project would cost $4,349,850. These upgrades will improve the ability to transport water over the distribution system more efficiently. This would also add an additional pump station to pump water to the top of Lookout Mountain.
Also, during the meeting, Walker noted that there are some policies that she would like to put into place, regarding water meters and water use.
“There were unwritten policies in place, so I just wanted to solidify it. Anything on the customer’s side is their responsibility, and anything on our side is our responsibility. It is basic stuff.” Walker said.
The authority members voted to implement the policies. The policies will be available to review on mydadewater.com.
In addition, the authority is in the process of upgrading meters to an advanced metering infrastructure with automatic meter reading (AMR). The authority has created an AMR opt-out policy.
The opt-out program applies to customers with a residential rate. Commercial and industrial customers are not eligible to opt-out of this service.
To opt-out, a one-time initial set up fee of $50 is needed per water meter to cover the cost of changing and reconfiguring the water meters. In addition, there will be a $30 meter reading charge each month, which will be added to the customer’s bill. The authority voted to approve the opt-out policy.
“I wouldn’t have thought that this would be needed, but it is. We have one person that is very adamant that they did not want an electric meter because their kids cannot be around radio frequencies,” Walker said.
Walker also gave an update on the ongoing USDA projects. Nearly all the projects are now completed. The meter replacement program is currently in progress. The Sand Mountain pump station upgrades are in progress. The upgrades are approximately 75 percent complete, awaiting a delivery of fabricated piping.
Walker also informed the board members that the permit for the Canyon Ridge and McLemore sewer plant is no longer in the authority’s name.
“As of April 1 it went into McLemore’s [Sewer Inc.] name. We are still doing all the operations and maintenance up there, but that should end on June 15, per our contract,” Walker said.
Elizabeth Zeller presented the financial report and the operations report. The total profit for the month of March was $275,664.73. The expenses for the month of March totaled $301,637.46. There were 6,589 payments processed, and 262 work orders processed. There were 167 line locates, 12 water main leaks repaired, and 17 taps installed.
The next Water and Sewer Authority meeting is May 24.