‘Low Flow’ disrupts villages water plans

Engineers explained to the Granville Village Board Thursday night a tentative plan to filter the existing water system would likely not work due to the condition of the systems aged pumps and low water pressure.

Lamont Engineers representatives Milan Jackson and Jason Preisner provided a lengthy presentation where they explained options for improving the village water infrastructure and recommendations to replace aging water lines as well as discussion of the current water treatment plant project.

Jackson told the board he recommended against implementing the project to filter the existing village water because the cost of the project, estimated to be $60,000-$75,000, could not be guaranteed to be funded along with the village’s water treatment plant project, among several reasons. He recommended instead pursuing the small-scale pilot filter program.

This cost issue that arose during planning for the filtration system was the discovery that the state will not reimburse the village the estimated $30,000 in cost if the filters did not work, combined with the $5,000 in pump work. Waste Water treatment supervisor Dan Williams said the financial risk was simply too great to responsibly undertake when the other option was a notice printed in the newspaper. 

Williams said the village will have to run quarterly advertisements containing the department of health notice because they will not have the filtration protection until the new water treatment plant is completed. 

Williams said the village started testing the “raw water,” or water before any treatment is accomplished, back at the beginning of October of last year.

“And it’s been passing as drinking water ever since. Every test has come back as drinking water,” he said. 

“Even though the notices have to go out we are testing to ensure that none of the bacteria that the health department is concerned about are in the water system,” he said. 

The filtration requirement was added to village water following a health department declaration that the village water source is under direct influence from surface water. Village officials had initially decided to implement the filtration process to come into compliance with the health department requirement because the technology could be used on the existing system until the new water treatment facility was completed. The filters could then be relocated to the new water treatment plant.

Thursday they found out that would not be the case.

Following the presentation, waste water treatment supervisor Dan Williams told the board the pressure requirements of the filtration system would require him to run two pumps in the system constantly. The pumps do not run constantly under the current system. Jackson agreed the water system lacked sufficient pressure to incorporate the filters.

 

 

Williams said the constant use of both pumps concerned him, due to their age and condition.

One of the pumps was already set to undergo renovation at an approximate cost of $5,000; an amount that would buy a new pump of a newer type, he said. New pumps and new wells are a part of the water treatment plant plan whose design is currently being finalized by Lamont.

An additional concern Williams said was the strain of the constant use might knock one of the pumps out of operation. If that were to happen, the filters would have to be bypassed, requiring an automatic boil water notice.

The boil water notice could be for an extended period of time if one of the aging pumps failed and required maintenance, he said. Both Williams and the Lamont engineers explained the filter system requires a certain amount of water pressure to function, should the system pressure fall below that mark the filters would have to be bypassed again triggering a boil water notice. 

The other option facing the village is to run periodic health department notices advising residents of the potential for contamination in the water system, a move village officials opposed saying the notice could alarm residents.

Williams noted the water would be the same as it was prior to the health department guideline implementation.

 

Under pressure.

 

Principal engineer for the project, Jackson, along with assistant project engineer Preisner also presented the board with the results of a hydraulic study the village commissioned seeking weaknesses in the water system.

The presentation provided the board with a number of options for improving the water pressure within the village water system as well as replacing some of the aging parts of the piping as some sections were believed to be as much as 100 years old. 

The board was shown nine options, the cost for each, as well as some idea of what each option could accomplish in terms of improving water pressure.

Preisner and Jackson told the board the option they felt would do the most good for the village water system was running new lines along Church Street and then up Mettowee Street.

That option was estimated to cost $992,000, but did not have to be done in one project, they said.

Village clerk Rick Roberts said the estimates were for the cost of bringing in an outside company to do the required work but Williams said the DPW would probably do some parts or smaller associated projects. 

Preisner said the options varied as to how many people they would help as well as how much of the pressure issue they would remedy and it was up to the village to analyze which held the most value.

Williams said the village has issues with a water infrastructure that is aging and has been built piecemeal over the years as the village population grew. Each of the projects is to some extent necessary, but accomplishing them may take a number of years, he said. “We’re going to try to keep upgrading the system without a huge expense to the rate-payers,” Williams said. 

Williams said the line replacements were not a part of water treatment plant project, but some of the options could be included as add-ons depending on the cost of the project.

The advantage of including the projects but naming them as add-ons would allow the village to get a solid idea of what the true cost of the projects would be versus going out to bid, he said.

“The only main we have to replace is the one near the treatment plant,” he said. The others can be done at any time and in any order the village decides to pursue. 

Williams said the only surprise the report contained was that an option the village had considered on its own before commissioning the study, running a line from North Street to Mettowee Street under the river, would not have been effective in remedying the pressure problems for that area of the village.

The village had a number of dead end lines which affect the amount of water pressure in the system and was expected to help out a number of homes – it just turns out the number would have been about five.

“That was the biggest surprise that we would not get the results we hoped for,” he said. “It’s amazing the information they can come up with.”

“It’s a good plan to upgrade the water system over the course of the next few years – it’s like having a master plan for the water system,” Williams said.

Due to the economic situation at the time and a tight credit market with grant availability dropping, Williams said the plan could take years to complete even in piecemeal fashion. 

“We’re going to rank the options and look at how to best implement them,” he said. 

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