MCBPU receives petition for water

Friday, June 19, 2009

A request for the extension of water service to homes along several roads north of Chapel Hill was well received this week by the Marshal County Board of Public Utilities.

Rick Daughrity of Central Avenue, Chapel Hill, presented a petition to the board on Monday. Ten people signing the petition indicated they're willing to pay up to half their pro rata share of a .74-mile water line estimated at nearly $69,100.

"It's an excellent proposal," MCBPU Chairman Rocky Bowden said during the Monday morning meeting.

Daughrity said, "Everybody on this list has bad water." An elderly woman can't use an ice maker in a refrigerator because of the water. She must take her clothes to a laundry.

"Public water is needed for a better quality of life for the people aong the northern most section of Smiley Road starting at Little Egypt Road going northward to Sweeney Lane/Blackwell Road ... and the eastern most section of Sweeney Lane starting at Smiley Road and going westward to 2060 Sweeney Lane" where Randy Sweeney's house is located, according to the petition.

Daughrity had problems with sulfur water when he lived in a house on nearby Thick Road where the elements in humidity damaged door hardware and water in his copper pipes caused pinholes and leaks, he told the board.

"The property owners [signing the petition] will provide the necessary easements" for the water lines, the water board was told. At least 10 water taps are wanted and the petitions are willing to pay for that cost set at $2,050 each.

MCBPU Director Mike Waggoner asked for a projected time when a separate water line project would reach Egypt Road in that part of the county and Utility Superintendent Tommy Whaley replied it might be "1-1/2-years out."

Daughrity said he and others owning property in that area north of Chapel Hill realize it will take time to achieve their goal, but he was there asking the board to consider the petition.

Whaley noted an environmental study may be needed and that the project could be the subject of construction bids that would attract local contractors.

Daughrity said the petitioners can't allow the project to be "open ended" on costs.

Seeing opportunities for the utility and the residents, the utility board chairman had a question about how to proceed.

"Why don't we dump this in Tommy's lap," Bowden asked, turning to the utility's superintendent, "and let him make decisions?"

Board Director Bill Blalock noted the utility's consulting engineer, Bob Ramsey, would have to calculate water pressure and examine other hydrological issues, but Blalock then moved to proceed as Bowden suggested so Whaley and Ramsey could find the most economical way to accomplish the project.

The board unanimously agreed and turned to other issues.

Michelle Ways of Lunns Store Road spoke up for residents and property owners of houses south of Wilson School Road where they're concerned about water pipes that are believed to be laid too close to the surface of the ground.

During discussion, Mary Ann Neill, a member of the board and chairwoman of the county commission, commented, "You know if a four-wheeler can run over a line an bust it, it's not buried deep enough."

Bowden, who also serves on the county commission, suggested the board have Whaley examine that situation, too. The board agreed.

Discussion included suggestions on various ways to resolve the issue, and Bowden recalled that the board "went to war on this before," so officials had some awareness of the situation discovered years ago.

Blalock agreed.

"We told them what the problem would be, but nobody would listen," Blalock said.

Whaley was assigned to visit the area and consult with the appropriate people about the situation.