Water plant underway for Buffalo Island Water District

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Buffalo Island Regional Water District will soon have its own treatment plant, well, and storage tanks to service their customers. Buffalo Island Water has approximately 1,100 active meters in three counties including Mississippi Poinsett and Craighead.

The new Buffalo Island Regional Water District water plant is under construction. There will also be a well on site and two elevated storage tanks to service BI customers in three counties. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

The rural water company opened for business in 1982 with 800 meters. Throughout the years the company has purchased water for the surrounding towns.

Tate Apple, manager for the Buffalo Island Water District, said the project has been in the planning stages for nine years and it will soon be a reality.

Work began in December and a treatment plant will be located on County Road 103 with one 300,000 gallon elevated storage tank. A second elevated storage tank with 200,000 gallon capacity will be located north of Leachville.

Tate said the initial project cost was estimated up to $6 million. The project received $2 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in a grant cutting the amount financed down.

"We have been able to cut back on the cost to our customers since we received the grant funding," Apple said. "As we get a grasp of the actual cost of the new system, we are hoping to be able to reduce it even more in the future. The two main reasons for the project are cost control and supply. During some of the summer months we could use up to 11 million gallons in one month. Luckily we have good water and it is plentiful in our area."

Tate expressed his appreciation to everyone who has been a part in bringing the project together.

Land for the treatment plant and tanks were purchased from Adams Land Company and over 109 easements had to be acquired for the work to begin.

"Without all of their cooperation this project may not have been possible," he said.

According to the engineers the new project will require 37 to 38 miles of new pipe line.

Apple has one full time employee in the fields with him. The two take care of reading the meters, maintenance, and new services. They stay busy. Pam Shirley works full time in the office. Two part-time office workers are Amy Shirley and Marion Smithee. There are 13 board members from throughout the service area.

"The board members have been very supportive of the project," Tate said.

Inspectors are from Civil Engineer Associates (CEA). Contractors include B&B Utility Line for the pipes; Jones Service for the well; Robinson Construction for the water plant; and Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors for the tanks.

Tate said the plant is centrally located with the main supply line.

"The engineers tell us the system is sufficient to push the water to every customer with good pressure," Tate said. "The plant will have 60 to 70 PSI."

The project should be completed in December 2010 or January 2011.

Tate has completed all of the training and has a Grade 4 license in distribution and a Grade 4 operator in training license.

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