Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 16, 2013

Water plant work underway in EC

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — There have been quite a few blessings counted with some of the recent rain showers bringing relief to a drought stricken Garvin County, but there are still examples of why much more is needed for a full recovery.

One of those examples dependent on water levels rising is Elmore City’s water plant, with any possible future of operating depending on if the city lake nearby can reach sustainable levels, according to EC City Clerk/Treasurer Lisa Rollings. While it benefited from a large storm system that moved through earlier in the month, if drought conditions return and rainfall does not raise it further, the plant might not be able to open even if it finishes on time.

“Even if we got water plant going today we’d not be able to serve residents…I don’t ever think it’s been this low,” said Rollings. “I guess it all depends on the weather. I think we’re just walking on egg shells at this point.”

However, refurbishing the old plant is underway with the dirt work getting going on the backwash lagoons after a surveyor recommended the spots and limited construction like storage for things like chlorine, said Rollings. Much of this is being helped along by the county government, which is providing in-kind work to keep costs within Project Engineer Robert Mullins of Mehlburger Brawley’s estimate of about $398,036.

There is about a 180 day or so goal for completion of the project as a whole and it could be within the next month or so when crews begin blast cleaning the water tanks and then repainting them, said Rollings. It’s all paid for thanks to grants covering a majority of costs along the lines one from Rural Economic Action Plan for $50,000 for an electrical panel and around $246,000 from Southern Oklahoma Development Association.

“We’re definitely in the construction phase,” said Rollings. “Everybody seems to be working together well.”

For the moment, Elmore City will continue to purchase water from the Rural Water District via Pauls Valley and Rollings sees it as something that will likely continue, even if on a supplemental basis far down the road. There are also efforts to help add water possibilities through applying for another grant to drill wells or even reopen old wells that might be used to put water into the lake if the Department of Environmental Quality approves.

In the end, Rollings is just excited to see everything moving quickly toward a foreseeable completion. Once the plant can be used, it will also work more efficiently because of an updated booster station that will be able to ensure enough pressure is there to prevent shortages during high peaks in demand.

“I didn’t think that I would see the day, but finally getting grant work from my desk,” said Rollings.