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Lee PSA seeks funding for Blackwater, Thompson Settlement water projects

February 28th, 2007 6:42 pm by WALTER LITTRELL



JONESVILLE - The Lee County Public Service Authority on Tuesday approved two resolutions authorizing Director James "Doc" Parsons to apply to the Virginia Department of Health for funding for water projects at Blackwater and Thompson Settlement.


Applications to the VDH's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program are due March 30.


The proposed Thompson Settlement water extension would provide public water service to 105 households, while the proposed Blackwater-Lee County water project would serve 117 households.


In other new project issues, the authority approved a motion to let Lane Engineering determine whether to take new bids or draw up a change order for the contractor on the Central Lee water project to add an extension down old Route 58 from Chance's Chapel to Hagan. Engineer Bobby Lane said he will have to check with the funding agency to see if it will allow the current contractor, Pete Sumpter Contracting, to do the work under a change order or if it will have to be rebid.


Lane recommended going with Sumpter if the funding agency will allow it because he believes prices may be higher now than they were when the project was originally bid. Sumpter's prices are competitive, he said.


This extension was part of the original Central Lee project but was dropped due to funding concerns. Lane said it can now be added back because there are adequate contingency funds to complete the entire scope of that project, and the funding agency has agreed that the work can be done.


Lane also reported that he is still looking for ways to restructure a proposed Silver Leaf water project.


He said the design for a proposed Ocoonita water project is completed and has been submitted to the VDH for approval, and he hopes to have phase two of the Robbins Chapel water project ready to advertise for bids in March.


During a discussion of the new public water connection to Stickleyville Elementary School, Lane said he is working with the contractor, Estes Brothers Construction, to determine why pressure is not what it should be.


PSA board members said they understand new restrooms at the school do not have adequate water to use and that pressure is generally poor throughout the school.


Lane said the contractor has continually worked to find the problem and now believes there is some sort of obstruction in the service line to the building. This could be pipe shavings from connections during construction, he said.


Lane said water flow to the school should be in the range of 22 to 23 gallons per minute, and during a check on Thursday it was only about 15 gallons. He said the contractor hopes to be back at the school today to "break the line and look for the obstruction."


He was optimistic the situation can be resolved soon.


He added that when the school was hooked to a well, it used a series of pressure tanks to ensure adequate water flow, and while those tanks are now disconnected, they are still available for use and can be reconnected to increase pressure if necessary.


During his report, Parsons said he has obtained warrants on approximately one-third of the former customers who left with delinquent accounts and that he has obtained a warrant against one individual for water theft.


Before approving minutes from a Jan. 31 called meeting, board member D.J. Barker expressed his displeasure that the minutes did not include the fact that the board had agreed to put Parsons on a three-month probationary period. The board agreed to amend those minutes to reflect that.


In other matters, the board approved a motion to allow Thompson and Litton Engineering to search for grants and other funding sources to address serious leak issues on the Keokee and Western Lee water systems. The company has offered to do the work and accept pay from any funding it is able to obtain.


The authority also agreed to discuss with the VDH and the town of Jonesville a possible connection between the authority's and the town's water systems. It was agreed that any such connection should allow water to flow both ways. Lane said the health department has agreed that leftover funds from the Smyth Chapel/Millers Chapel water project can be used to provide the connection.


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