System expansion discussed by water board

With increasing home construction in the areas served by the Daleville Water System, the water board has asked their consulting engineer to research what needs to be done to best serve water customers.

At the April 20 water board meeting, Joe Harmon from David Hicks and Associates, was asked to look into the feasibility of—and funding for—building a new water storage tank and well to serve the growing number of customers in the Clayhatchee area.

At a water board meeting Feb. 16, Hicks had provided the board with an overview of the city’s water supply, water storage and water distribution system.

At that meeting Harmon said that the city’s four water wells range in age from 13 to 60 years of age. “There is a wide range in age and also a wide range in capacity,” he said. “The new well, drilled in 2008, pumps 1,000 gallons a minute.”

Harmon said that the city pumped some 700,000 gallons of water a day on average in 2019. That number was 683,000 gallons a day on average in 2020.

“It’s important to look at average daily usage but also how many hours a day the wells are run because that tells you how well you are meeting customer demands,” he explained. “All the wells are averaging four to six hours per day.

“The recommended well water run-through is somewhere between eight and 12 hours per day so you are not over pumping any of the wells,” he said.

Harmon said that Daleville has 1 million gallons worth of effective storage. The city has about 1.39 days of water storage. “That’s adequate but as time goes on the amount of output will decrease and in terms of long range planning, a new tank might be good to look at.”

At that meeting Harmon noted that the Daleville Water System serves many customers outside of the city limits of Daleville. Some 300 to 400 customers are in the Clayhatchee area, he said, adding that the board could consider building a well and tank nearer that area due to anticipated home construction growth.

At the meeting April 20 Mayor Jayme Stayton reiterated that residential construction and population growth is a reality and that he would like the city to be proactive in providing water service.

Harmon agreed. “My thought is if they are building more houses, a new tank should match the tanks in town so it would all flow in a circle to work together,” he told the water board. “If you build it lower, you can always send water out there but you can never send water back to town.”

Harmon outlined water system project financing options available. He called the Community Development Block Grants “the best” because they include 90 percent grant money with only 10 percent matching funds required by the receiving municipality. The limiting factor, he said, was that in order for an area to be considered eligible for a CDBG grant, 51 percent of the households have to be considered “low to moderate income.”

The city of Daleville, as a whole, is not considered “low and moderate income,” so projects impacting the entire city such as a new water well or water tank do not meet CDBG parameters, Harmon explained. “So

you have to pick certain areas that would be eligible and there are areas of the city with older water mains that you would not be able to get that money for.”

Interest rates are at “some of the lowest that they’ve been since I’ve been working,” Harmon said, citing the ADEM State Revolving Fund— which has 2.2 percent interest for 20 years— and the USDA Rural Development has grants for up to 45 percent funding. “They base the eligibility of the median household income of the area and have 2.15 percent interest for 40 years.

Harmon said he will work with the water works supervisor to detail needs and potential costs but said that preliminary estimates are between $2 and $2.4 million.

The next meeting of the Daleville Water Board is May 18 at 5 p.m. in the Daleville City Hall Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public.

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