BY SARAH GREGORY
During their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, members of the Greeneville Water Commission heard updates concerning:
* a recent grant award from the State of Tennessee,
* sewer-line rehabilitation projects,
* and a water-line extension at the Walters State Community College campus.
The $250,000 Clean Energy grant award from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will be used to purchase energy-saving variable-speed drives and a new pump and motor.
The new equipment is expected to result in significant energy savings.
"We weren't really expecting to get it [the grant], and we were pleasantly surprised that we did," White said.
"We were actually awarded the maximum $250,000. We were the only county that I saw on the report that received the max funding," she said, adding that the current budget provides funding for the variable-speed pumps for the water treatment plant.
Engineer Eric Frye told commissioners that the grant will help the Water Department purchase and install three variable-speed drives -- two at the water treatment plant and one at the river intake.
A new pump and motor will also be purchased for the water plant, Frye said.
The equipment is expected to pay for itself from reduced electricity costs in approximately two years, he told the board.
"If you take the grant money we're going to get, which is almost half [of the total cost], and then what you're going to save, you're going to have about a two-year payback," Frye said.
"It's a little over $546,000 project," said White. "But we get $250,000 of it [from the state]."
"The state will pay $250,000 [of the project's cost]. Anything over that, we have to pay," Frye told commissioners.
"We're looking, right now, it's going to cost us $296,000, based on this estimate," he said.
The Water Department will have to solicit bids for the variable-speed drives, pump, and motor, Frye said.
"These pumps take a long time to get. Then we'll install the pump and things like that. We'll have to hire an electrician to come in and wire up the variable-speed drives," he said.
Commissioners took no action on the update. After bids are solicited, the board will take action to move forward with the equipment purchase and installation.
The board voted unanimously to award a yearly construction contract to Carter Contractors, of Greene County.
That company, Frye said, has been the low bidder for the contracting work for the last three years.
The action Tuesday essentially places the company on retainer to be called in for emergency jobs that the Water Department does not have time to bid out or the proper equipment to handle "in house," such as repairs to water- or sewer-line breaks or concrete work, Frye said.
Prior to adjourning from the 25-minute meeting, commissioners heard brief updates concerning sewer rehabilitation projects and water-line extensions.
"Our Pigeon Creek area has been a problem area, but we've found several manholes we've been able to replace the lids on" in an effort to prevent water from leaking in, White told the board.
"We've got flow meters now in Pigeon Creek basin, trying to determine where we're getting the in-flow," she said.
"You take those meters and move them around to see exactly where it's coming in and try to alleviate. You just kind of have to go from section to section to alleviate where the problem is," she explained.
"We've got maps of the system going manhole to manhole, trying to cut back and see where we're getting in-flow and infiltration" into the sewer lines, White said.
"Holly Creek is the same thing. It's a little bit more complicated because it's a bigger basin," she told the board.
"But we're working on that the same way."
One complication in the Holly Creek area, she said, is that many of the manholes are now underground.
"Through time -- they're in fields, they've been buried with dirt," she said. "We've found some as deep as three feet under dirt.
"Its been a really good project, though, because we're learning more about our sewer system, and we're learning what kind of problems we have and things we can do to hopefully alleviate some of the problems," she said.
Commissioners also heard an update concerning water-line extension projects.
"College Street will be the next one we've got to work on," White said. "We've got to coordinate with Walters State [Community College]. They're doing a lot of work over there right now [on their campus expansion project] too," she said.
The extension, Frye said, would be approximately 600 feet.
"The old line stopped in front of the [former Laughlin Memorial] hospital at their meter. We're just going to take it on to Tusculum Boulevard.
"We've got a valve broken that we've got to replace, so while they're doing that work [at the Walters State campus], we're going to go ahead and get that line in," he said.
"We'll run it from the old entrance of the [former] hospital on College Street to Tusculum Boulevard," he said.
"There's just not a line there. We have a small gap in our system. We're just going to fill that in to get better [water] flow everywhere," Frye told commissioners.