After more than three decades, the Smithville Water Treatment plant is getting a major overhaul and by the time the renovation is completed later this year, officials say the city will have a more state of the art facility which will continue to provide its customers with a clean, safe, reliable water supply for many years to come.
Work began last August by the W&O Construction Company of Livingston, who was awarded the construction bid in February 2010 by the board of aldermen at a cost of $2,542,000. The city has been awarded a $500,000 community development block grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help fund the project. But the bulk of the funding, $2,342,000 is being appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund surplus.
The project at the water plant includes the installation of new high service pumps; new electrical breaker boxes, new storage tanks, new automated water filter control panel, new chlorinator, new liquid fluoride feeder system, the addition of a new standby generator, among many other renovations and improvements.
Mayor Taft Hendrixson said the city does not have to borrow the money because there are sufficient funds in the city's water and sewer fund reserves to support the project.
During Monday night's city council meeting, Mayor Hendrixson said officials of W & O Construction met with city officials last week to provide a monthly update on the project. "Their schedule says they will be finished in April and supposedly they're on time. But then they said maybe some intake pumps may take longer. So we may be looking after April (before they're finished) but according to everything on schedule now, they have all the new filters in and they are working. They backwash every eight to ten days instead of every two days. That saves us a lot of water and it's also a lot easier to treat. They're doing a lot of the electrical work down there. They have one high service pump installed and were working on getting another one out to put a new one in there. Our main problem with the plant now and has been for the last three or four months is the intake. We've had to spend some extra money down there to keep the intake going. But if you don't get water out of the lake, you can't make it. So we're doing the best we can and we are keeping the water flowing. I think the water plant renovation is in good shape."
Hunter Hendrixson, City Secretary-Treasurer, told WJLE Tuesday that "to date, the City has spent $1,477,187 on the plant renovations using Smithville Water and Sewer Funds. The City has been reimbursed $246,030 of the $500,000 CDBG grant. The J.R. Wauford Engineering Company is overseeing the project."
The water treatment plant was originally constructed in 1966. The last major update to the facility was in 1978 when work was done at both the plant and the pumps at the intake on the lake.