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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Wilbur Lake water plant now using permanent pumps

June 5th, 2013 11:26 am by John Thompson

Wilbur Lake water plant now using permanent pumps

The water intake for the Watauga River Regional Water Authority is now pumping water to the utility's water plant at Wilbur Lake. All that remains to be done at the water intake is electrical work and landscaping. Work should be completed by July 31. (Lee


ELIZABETHTON — The Watauga River Regional Water Authority has reached another construction milestone. 


For the first time, the utility is using its permanent pumps at its water intake facility to provide the 1.2 million gallons of water per day for its nearby water treatment plant.


Ever since the water treatment plant went online last fall, it has had to use temporary pumps because the intake facility was still under construction. 

See more photos of the intake here.


The intake building is located next to the bridge across Wilbur Lake on the Wilbur Dam Road. Construction on the intake was delayed for several months because unstable soils were discovered in one section of the lake bottom that was to be used for the facility’s foundation. 


That problem has been overcome, and the authority’s executive director, Bryon Trantham, said the facility should be completed before July 31.


He said most of the remaining work is with installing the permanent electrical panels and other electric work and with landscaping. He said landscaping and site grading is also nearing completion on the water treatment plant site on a ridge above the lake.


“We expect the work to be completed within the next five or six weeks,” Trantham said. “We are now providing safe water to Siam and South Elizabethton utility districts, the North Elizabethton Division and to the city of Elizabethton.” 


He said the new water source has solved some water supply problems in the region. He said it was difficult for Hampton to provide enough water for South Elizabethton and North Elizabethton’s water rates were very high. He said the plant could also provide water supply needs as the region grows. The treatment plant was designed to be able to easily expand if future needs require additional water. 


Frizzell Construction Co. of Bristol is the contractor on the project.


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