The Adair County Water District is putting millions of dollars towards projects all over the county and many want to know why.
Some are also wondering why the water district chose to do all of the projects at once.
General Manager Lenny Stone says the projects will help maintain the water system in the county and keep up with regulations from the Division of Water. Stone said if they didn’t have all of these projects, it would jeopardize the quality of the system.
“You’ve got to keep your system in shape and keep up with those regulations,” Stone said. “To be a good manager, you have to constantly be thinking of upgrades and maintenance.”
The water district and its current project have gotten attention over the past couple of weeks because the rate increase, which will help pay for the projects.
The current projects include four projects, which are the downtown Columbia project, the generator project at the water plant and the Knifley and Sparksville projects are estimated to be finished by next year.
The Knifley and Sparksville projects have the same concept. Stone said they are putting in new lines and a new water tower in each community. The purpose is to improve the quality of service to those customers.
Stone said in Sparksville they have replaced the 6-inch lines with 12-inch lines. With the 6-inch lines, the water pressure wasn’t very strong and an 8-inch line wouldn’t be strong enough, Stone continued. So, they replaced them with a 12-inch line, which is a better quality line, he said.
“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” Stone said. “If we do that (using an 8-inch line) we’re basically putting a band aid on it.”
The new lines in Sparksville will feed into the Sparksville, Gradyville, Breeding, Mell Ridge, Chance and Jones Chapel communities.
The Sparksville project is near completion and Stone said he hopes to begin the Knifley project in March.
The generator project includes a back up generator along with a building to house it, raw water return and lines from the lake to the water plant and new safety measures for the building.
The downtown Columbia project will replace water lines throughout the city, which have been there for more than 60 years.
Stone said they have to do projects like these and continue to find ways to preserve the quality of the system.
“We’re still growing,” Stone said. “You think you’ve got everybody served with water, then you’ve got one little road that doesn’t have water.”
According to Stone, the process maintaining the water supply in the county is complex.
“Come and learn about your system and get them information, so it can be understood,” Stone said.
Stone said he hopes to have an open house sometime in the future where customers can visit the water plant and see how everything works.
Stone also said he believes because of his position with the water district, his salary ($125,000 a year) should be made public. Stone’s responsibilities include overseeing the water plant, sewer plant, researching grants for funding and more.
For more information on the different projects, see the box below.
By Allison Hollon