Pumps to start soon at Wilbur Lake water plant in Carter County

John Thompson • Apr 10, 2013 at 9:06 AM

ELIZABETHTON — One of the final pieces of the Watauga River Regional Water Authority’s water plant at Wilbur Lake will be coming on line in two weeks.

Two of the three permanent pumps at the Wilbur Lake intake facility will be operational at that time and the temporary pumps that have been providing water to the new water treatment plant will be taken out of service.

Mark Jackson, project manager for Frizzell Construction Co., gave that update during Tuesday’s meeting of the water authority. The original schedule had not called for the pumps to be placed online this early, but the schedule was rearranged to save the utility the cost of continuing to use the temporary pumps.

The construction work at the water intake facility is only 50 percent complete, Jackson said, but the hardest part, the part under the lake, has been completed. He said the coffer dam has been removed. Once the pumps are ready, he said the covers on the intake pipes will be removed. Jackson said divers will be used to perform that operation.

The remaining work is to install all the wiring and electronics to make the site fully automatic, controlled from the water treatment plant. That should be completed in the fall.

The heart of the operation, the water treatment plant, is also being built by Frizzell. Jackson said the plant is 99.9 percent complete and is in operation. The punch list is being completed.

Work is being done this week on the Beck Mountain Storage Tank to correct a leak. Water Authority Manager Bryon Trantham said the tank will be drained and workers will begin working on what is believed to be a crack in the floor. He said an industry standard approach will be used to seal the leak.

While the 1.2-million-gallon storage tank is out of operation, Trantham said both Siam and South Elizabethton Utility Districts will be served with the 200,000-gallon storage capacity at Siam. Because of the much smaller capacity, Trantham said water authority employees will have to work overtime to keep the system balanced.

There was one other problem with new equipment, Trantham said. One of the new pumps at the booster station went down. He said there was no loss of production and repairs were made in 36 hours. He said the costs were covered by the warranty.

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