The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 30, 2013

River pipeline to pump Decatur water into Limestone County nears approval

— The Decatur Crossing pipeline project is set to receive approval from the Decatur City Council during its 6 p.m. meeting Monday.

The Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority intends to construct a pipeline under the Tennessee River to pump water from Decatur into southern Limestone County. During Thursday’s board meeting, LCWSA board members expressed a desire to move forward with the project.

The contract between LCWSA and Decatur Utilities would quadruple water flow from Decatur to Limestone County from 1.5 million to 6 million gallons per day, according to Decatur Utilities.

“They’re going to vote Monday night, to the best of my knowledge. They already discussed it during a work session, and it’s my understanding (the city council) needed a clarification about the project from Decatur Utilities,” said LCWSA General Manager Byron Cook.

Project details

Cook said pending final approval from Decatur and the LCWSA board at its July 25 meeting, the project would immediately move into the design and engineering stage and the bid process. He said construction could start in seven to eight months once the project is approved.

Cook previously told The News Courier the project could take up to 3 1/2 years to complete at a cost of between $10 and $11 million.

“Decatur Utilities is set up differently from us because we are set up independently with a board that has the authority to conduct business without having to go back (to a city council),” said Cook on Friday. “If everything goes according to plan, Decatur will vote Monday and then we’ll vote on finalizing the project at our July board meeting.

“All our permitting is complete … everything you have to do to cross the river, we’ve done it.”

Buying from Decatur

When asked why the LCWSA chose to purchase more water from Decatur Utilities, Cook said it came down to Decatur’s pricing and ability to meet Limestone’s present and future demand for water supply.

“Decatur has one of the lowest water rates in Alabama, and we can get that amount of water cheaper from Decatur than we could buying it here,” Cook said on Friday. “It’s just economics. We don’t need that much water now but we can only go under the river one time, as far as the cost of drilling and putting that water main under the river. We can’t afford to do that again five years down the road and five years after that.

“We’re at the point where we have to plan for the future. This project would have us in a good position for water supply to the southern part of the county, and the entire county. And it frees up assets to other places.”

The LCWSA, which serves 20,300 customers, currently has the capacity to produce 6,000 gallons a minute, or 9 million gallons of water per day. Decatur Utilities owns a treatment plant capable of treating 68 million gallons a day for its approximately 25,000 water customers.

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