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Bids Awarded for Water Tank, Line Upgrades

Two bid awards will get sizable city projects under way, including the construction of an elevated water tower to serve the southeastern side of Clinton and water line upgrades for various neighborhoods across the city.

“Both came in under the estimate of the engineer,” City manager Shawn Purvis told City Council, which quickly approved the award of both bids in short order at a Tuesday night planning session.

Council awarded the Southwood Drive 0.5 MG Elevated Tank project to low bidder Caldwell Tanks Inc. of Louisville, Ky. which submitted the lower of two bids, in the amount of $1,326,000.

A select few companies across the country even do such tank work, Purvis noted. The city has already received award of a 20-year, zero interest loan from the N.C. Division of Water Infrastructure Revolving Loan program.

“The elevated tank is part of our addition with the water plant.” Purvis said. A massive water plant expansion that will double the size of the city’s water treatment plant, as well as establish a redundant water line, is currently in the works.

A complement to that project, the elevated tank would provide a greater amount of water storage capacity for what would be the city’s biggest customer, as well as provide improved fire protection on the southeast side of Clinton and better service in that area as a result.

“The Southwood Tank will run concurrent with the water production expansion project,” Purvis said. “It may not start right away, but should be started by the end of the year.”

Originally estimated to be a $1.77 million project, the tank was a need predicated by industrial growth and increased water capacity and pressure for both consumer use and fire protection.

“In conjunction with the city’s water production expansion, the new tank will add 500,000 gallons of elevated storage capacity to the system,” Purvis stated in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Smithfield Foods, which uses 1.5 million to 1.8 million gallons of water a day, would likely purchase at least 500,000 gallons of water from Clinton on a daily basis once the water plant expansion project is completed, city officials said. The funding that the city would get from having Smithfield as a customer would help offset the cost of the project.

“Upon completion of the tank, the city’s annual tank maintenance contract will increase, however the prospective industrial use will offset the additional operational costs,” Purvis stated.

Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil has pointed to the Southwood Drive location for the elevated tank as a prime one, in that it was formerly a well site, with 10-inch arterial water lines extending down U.S. 701 up Southwood Drive and to the base of where the tank will be.

“That line is already there, so it’s a good opportunity,” Vreugdenhil said. “We own the property, we can utilize it for a half-million gallon tank. Down the road, that would enable the 125,000-gallon tank that is across the street from Smithfield to be utilized for a reclaim.”

In the other bid award, a $558,190 bid from Herring-Rivenbark out of Kinston, the lowest of five bids received, was approved by Council for the upgrade and replacement of water lines across the city.

Many of the city’s water lines are more than 50 years old and the city is making efforts to replace water and sewer lines through a regularly funded program, with the infrastructure replacement to take place over two Community Development Block Grant funding cycles.

“This is the water line project through various parts of the city, upgrading our system, enlarging the lines, increasing the fire pressure flow through our grant,” the city manager said. “We will look to begin the CDBG project as soon as we can. You can probably expect to see that start within the next couple of months.”

The total project tallies $1.7 million, with one project totaling $800,000, including $40,000 from the city, with the second totaling $900,000 with $50,000 coming from the city, according to long-term plans. Both projects will serve low to moderate income housing.

“This project is the $800,000 project,” Purvis noted. “We are still awaiting award for the second project.”

** Source:  Chris Berendt, Sampson Independent

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