The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 25, 2013

Pipeline project to be voted on today

Athens says it has enough water for all of county

— Today, when the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority meets at 3:30 p.m. it is scheduled to vote on building a $10 million pipeline under the Tennessee River to meet growth needs.

Limestone has said it needs 10-million gallons of water a day to meet growth needs in the southern and eastern parts of the county. The authority already purchases 1.5 million gallons a day from Decatur and the Decatur City Council has approved the sale of the additional water once the 36-inch wide, 8,700-foot long pipeline is constructed.

Athens Water and Wastewater Department Manager John Stockton said that as late as Tuesday he and other city officials met with water authority officials to assure them Athens could meet all of their water needs, at least for the next 15 years without the necessity of going out of county.

Decatur, which has a 68-million-gallon-a-day capacity plant and is largely free from debt service, can offer Limestone water at a much lower rate than Athens. But some officials question if the cheaper water justifies the $10-to-$11-million expenditure for the pipeline plus an estimated $4 million for a pumping station.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said he, Stockton and Utilities General Manager Gary Scroggins have met unofficially at least three times with water authority Manager Byron Cook and geographic information systems engineer Brent Brown to discuss the two entities working together.

According to Marks, the Tuesday meeting included Marks, Stockton, Scroggins, Cook, Brown and authority contract engineer Alton Hethcote.

“For the first time since I’ve been associated with this project I feel we had a really productive discussion,” said Marks. “We want to partner with (the authority) as much as we can. We can’t compete with Decatur, we will never be able to pump at the same cost, but it seems like we should be able to work together.”

Stockton said that Athens Water has a contract to sell 4 million gallons a day to the authority.

“The maximum they take is 1.5 million gallons a day,” said Stockton. “However, they are limited to be able to hydraulically move more to their sites because of their system and the size of their pipes. It could be several years before they need 10 million gallons.”

Stockton said he had been Water Department manager for 21 years and during that time the city upgrades and increases its treatment capacity every “four or five years.” He said by the time the county needs 10 million gallons, the Athens system could supply it.

Both Stockton and Marks say that for the foreseeable future, Athens can deliver what the county needs.

Authority Chairman Jim Moffatt, a local attorney, was in court all day Wednesday and couldn’t be reached. However, board member Johnny Hatchett said the county system is now at 90-percent capacity and the authority is under the gun to find more water.

“If one industry showed up and demanded a whole lot of water, we wouldn’t be in a position to serve them and we don’t want to be in that position.”

Hatchett said the authority’s Tuesday morning work session was dominated by discussions of the upcoming vote.

“We definitely want Athens’ input,” said Hatchett. We’ve talked to both parties (Decatur and Athens) in the past and we have not come up with an equitable solution.”

1
Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee