The design includes a new well, waterlines, ground storage tank and
meter reading system that will cut operating costs by a third.
|Greg Batson from the USDA congratulates Mayor Pickett|
ELLINGTON, MO – Residents in Ellington are now using the City’s new water production and distribution system. Their old system was first designed in the 1950’s, but over the years, the City had used their limited budget to cobble together wells, waterlines and pumping stations just to get by. The leaking and deteriorating system was having significant problems serving the City’s 450 homes and businesses. Maintenance crews were constantly digging up city streets and residents’ yards to fix and replace old leaking waterlines. Pump controls were worn out, and the water tower needed serious maintenance. In 2008, the City asked Schultz and Summers Engineering (SSE) to evaluate any deficiencies with the system and help identify what funding was needed to make the necessary repairs. SSE owner Bob Summers said, “The problems Ellington’s older system was experiencing are similar to what we have seen in other communities in Missouri. We enjoy designing projects that provide communities safe and clean drinking water while keeping water rates low for residents.”
|Everyone in front of the new plant and refurbished water tower.|
After a careful review of all the troubles with the old system, SSE put together a design that would meet the needs of Ellington’s citizens not only today, but well into the future. The city council took that design and presented it to the voters who passed a $3.5 million dollar bond issue with more than 80% approval. . Mayor Ben Pickett said, “Because the plan Schultz and Summers developed was a cost effective way to solve our water needs, voters overwhelmingly supported it. He continued, “Bob Summers, and Marvin Nesbit came to our public meetings, explained the funding process and answered all the questions that the voters asked. As a first term mayor, having someone like Bob, who had been through the process before and knew how everything worked, made my job much easier.”
After the bond was successfully passed, a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER)was submitted by SSE to the Missouri Water and Wastewater Review Committee. Included with the PER was a report by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources stating that Ellington’s existing wells had the potential for surface water contamination. Phyllis Minner from USDA-Rural Development said, “Because of the chance of surface water getting into Ellington’s existing water supply, we felt that this was a perfect project for USDA to support.”
|Inside the treatment plant|
By making sure all the required paperwork was filled out properly and turned into the USDA, SSE helped the City of Ellington secure a $1.6 million low interest loan with a 2.5% fixed interest rate for 35 years. Owner Bob Summers added, ”Sometimes it is hard for a small town to afford hiring an engineer to get all the cost estimates and initial designs done before they have been awarded any grants. Providing rural residents with clean drinking water is important to our company. That’s why we take a chance and work at our own expense until our clients get their funding secured.”
Ellington was also awarded a $1.25 million grant from the USDA which allowed them to move forward on completing the design and hiring a contractor to make the improvements. The final project plans were completed in mid-2009 and submitted to both USDA-Rural Development and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The plans were approved in January 2010 and Rural Development approved the bid advertisement that took place in June 2010.
Through the normal bidding process, KAJACS construction, Ozark Applicators, and Flynn Drilling were picked to construct the three contracts involved. The new upgrades are projected to lower the cities operating costs by about a third. Mayor Pickett added, “We had two old wells pumping water up to our water tower which was expensive. Now we have one well at the water tower, which will save a significant amount of money over time. The new well will produce up to 225,000 gallons of clean drinking water per day but will use less electricity, less chemicals and require fewer man-hours to operate. Since fixing all the leaks we have seen daily use decline from 230,000 gallons a day (GAD) to 109,000 GAD.” The City estimates that they will lower operating costs by over $12,000 a year with the new system. Additionally, the new well house includes a generator which will allow the water to be pumped even in a power outage from an ice storm. The project also included the installation of a radio read meter system that will allow the meters to be read in 10 minutes instead of several days.
|The old water tank that served the city for many years|
The new well house was brought on line in November of 2011 and a small ceremony was held at city hall. Greg Batson from USDA-Rural Development presented Mayor Pickett with a plaque commemorating the start of the new system and several community leaders were on hand to witness the event. Mayor Pickett concluded, “These upgrades are a huge milestone for our community and getting all this work done within budget is something we should take pride in. Schultz and Summers played a huge part in making this happen. They were there from the beginning and walked us through the whole process including public meetings, the bond election, then the application process, the bidding process, construction, testing and ending with supplying clean water. Without Wayne Faries, Marvin Nesbit and Bob Summers we couldn’t have done it.” He added, “Not only will we lower the operational budget, but eliminating the effort we spent digging up yards and roads to fix leaks will save us money and provide our residents with a clean and dependable water supply for years to come!”