Seligman gets water study grant

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

City saves $30K, engineering firm to be chosen to map out water system

The city of Seligman recently received a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to complete a water study analysis of its water system.

The analysis, which will be completed by an engineering firm yet to be determined, is estimated to cost somewhere between $30,000 to $35,000, but will be completely covered due to the grant.

The city attempted to get a $29,500 grant for a water study in September 2014, but the request was denied on the basis that there were insufficient funds in the state revolving fund. However, they were encouraged to reapply later in the year, when the next funding cycle came around.

Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk, said the city submitted another grant application toward the end of last year, and this time, it was approved.

The last water study was completed in May 2007 for $11,500. The analysis takes a look at the entire system from the well and the tower to the distribution system, and pinpoints inadequacies, issues, lack of pressure, undersized lines, lack of fire hydrants, ways to improve the fire service rating and provide adequate supply and demand.

Nichols said the city sat down with Andersen engineering and was advised by the firm that the city needed to complete a new analysis.

"That's what kick-started the whole thing," said Nichols, who added that the first step in the process is to obtain bids from engineering firms. "We'll put out requests for engineering qualifications. That's the first step. There are 11 different engineering firms in the area who do water system studies. We will send a request to all of them, plus publish it in the newspaper.

"They'll have until July 15 to submit their qualifications. We'll go through all their paperwork, and decide who is knowledgeable about systems in the area, who has the best reputation, then we'll pick who would be best to do the water study."

One problem with the current water system, Nichols said, is there are many different, inadequately-sized pipes buried in the ground.

"It's just the way the system was built at the time," he said. "We have a lot of four-in, six-inch and eight-inch pipe. Our main line needs to be eight-inch and go smaller from there. We have a lot of instances where there are six-inch pipes, then four-inch, then they've hooked a four-inch pipe onto the six-inch-sized pipe. So, you're reducing there for no reason and we need to go through and pull those restrictions out of the system."

One theory for the variances in pipe sizes was that at one point, residents may have thought the area was going to grow and decided not to pull the four-inch pipe out of the ground.

"We're trying to rectify these issues now," Nichols said. "We're trying to plan ahead, we want to be proactive instead of reactive. We certainly don't want people to be without water, or run into the issue of having to inject a bunch of chlorine into the water."

Nichols said there are also issues with the water lines in general.

"There are some water lines that dead-end out in the middle of nowhere," he said. "We need to connect all those in so we can better circulate water through the system because it prevents stagnation. That, of course, increases pressure. The more lines running after the main, if we can connect those, it really helps to loop pressure through the system. In effect it will help equalize pressure.

"The water study will pretty much tell us where to start, target areas that need upgraded, and where to put in valves. We want to get as much pressure as we can. Any time water pressure drops below 29 pounds-per-square-inch within the water lines, it's considered a boil order. So our goal is high enough pressure and water supply so that we can have enough fire hydrants. We'd like to upgrade our pipe size so we can update our hydrants."

Nichols said updating the water system will improve the city's fire protection ratings, which lowers home-owners insurance for everyone.

Some concerns expressed by residents are lack of water supply to area chicken houses, and water pressure.

"We have chicken houses we don't supply enough water to and there are concerns we are robbing from other peoples' houses and lowering pressure," Nichols said. "We have two lines headed out of town. One almost at the beginning and one at the end. Between that, we have 10 different houses. We have a good amount of supply but at the end that person needs the same amount of supply.

"So, if that chicken house at the end of the line kicks on his big water-using fogger system, he pulls all the water out of the lines so its hard for the houses in between to get much water pressure," said Nichols. "That's a situation where looping the lines would allow us to feed more lines and increase the pressure out there."

Nichols said the entire project could take several years to complete.

"We're starting on the ground floor," he said. "With this engineering report, they're going to designate phases. "We're going to start in the city first, then move outside the city."

The city has been addressing issues with its water system infrastructure and striving to resolve related issues for some time, taking steps toward that goal. The first step was purchasing and replacing new, updated water meters last year.

"We had water meters that were 20 years in the ground," Nichols said. "Those need to be replaced every five years. We've replaced almost almost 675 meters now. We're at the point that we have extras on the shelf if needed. We paid for all that out of pocket. At the same time we upgraded to a radio read system. It's very quick to go out and read all the meters."

With the new technology, what used to take four men 2-1/2 days to read meters now only takes three hours.

"We'll help the city save that much money," Nichols said.

And after the beginning of the year, the city purchased pipe locating equipment, at an expense of $9,666.53, to comply with federal and state regulations.

"Every public utility must be able to actively locate their equipment," Nichols said.

The purchase included an AquaTrac 50 non-metallic pip locator, a magnetic locator, a pip and cable locator, and a LD-12 professional water leak detector.

Nichols said the city is looking forward to getting the water study started, and after the city chooses an engineering firm for the analysis, the firm will begin mapping out the city's entire water system then advise of areas that need to be replaced or upgraded.

"They'll give us an idea of where we need to start," Nichols said.

Nichols said the city continues to look for grants and ways to improve and upgrade the city's infrastructure for residents.

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