City to borrow $3.5 million for water, sewer projects
Charles Warner Editor
UNION — The City of Union will borrow more than $3.5 million from a state agency to finance a series of water and sewer improvement projects.
During the 2013-2014 budget process, Finance Director Walker Gallman told Union City Council that city staff had discussed the infrastructure needs of Union’s water and sewer systems. Gallman said the city’s water system, which was established in 1898, was approximately 115 years old while its sewer systems, which was established in 1917, was approximately 96 years old. He said the water system includes 183 miles of water lines and the infrastructure to purify and move water while the sewer system includes 123 miles of sewer collector lines and the infrastructure to process and move waste water.
In June, council voted unanimously to approve resolutions authorizing Mayor Harold Thompson to apply for two loans totaling more than $3.5 million from the State Revolving Fund to help finance four water system projects and eight sewer system projects.
While the resolution authorized Thompson to apply for the loans, the money cannot actually be borrowed until ordinances authorizing the city to take out the loans is approved by council.
The first phase of that approval took place Tuesday when council voted unanimously to approve first reading of two ordinances authorizing the city to take out the loans.
The first of those ordinances authorizes the city to borrow up to $2,024,234 from the SRF’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Loan Fund.
Gallman said the loan will help finance the eight sewer system improvement projects including:
• Buffalo Mill Village Phase III which involves the construction of approximately 4,275 linear feet of 8-inch sewer line in the Buffalo Mill Village.
• Monarch Mill Village Phase II which involves the construction of approximately 2,850 linear feet of eight-inch sewer line.
• Industrial Park Road sewer outfall.
• General improvements to the system.
• Upgrades to the Tosch Creek wastewater pump station.
• Upgrades to the Railroad Street pump station.
• Ottaray Mill Village Phase II which will involve the construction of approximately 1,490 linear feet of eight-inch sewer line along parts of Second and Third streets.
• Rehabilitation of the sewer system in the McBeth Street area.
Gallman said the system improvement projects are projected to cost a total of $3,616,648. He said the balance of the cost will be financed with three Community Development Block Grants totaling $1,202,584 and $389,830 in city funds.
Though all eight projects address needs of the city sewer system, Gallman pointed out that the grants for the Buffalo and Ottaray projects were obtained with the cooperation of Union County. He said the county applied for the grants on the city’s behalf.
The second ordinance approved authorizes the city to borrow up to $1,235,512 from the SRF’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund to finance the four water system improvement projects.
Gallman said the four projects that will be funded with this loan includes the replacement of 2,300 water meters that are more than 25 years old. The replacement of the meters is projected to cost $561,863, but Gallman said the replacement is considered a “green” project which will allow the city to obtain those funds at a 1 percent interest rate for 20 years.
The city is in the process of replacing its old meters with new ones that have the remote read component which will enable utility works to read the meters from the road without having to go on a customer’s property. Once the 2,300 meters covered by the project are replaced, all the meters on the city system will be remote read.
The other three water system projects involve:
• Replacement of filter control consoles at the water plant that are more than 60 years old with new digital controls.
• Replacement of 16 valves that are more than 50 years old, 13 fire hydrants, and galvanized pipe on Williams, Louise, Oak, and Mill streets that are more than 40 years old.
• Replacement of water lines in the Monarch area on Hancock and Munro streets. This is the water system portion of Monarch Mill Village Phase II.
These three projects are projected cost $673,649 which Gallman said the city will be able to obtain at an interest rate of 1.9 percent for 20 years.
In the City of Union ordinances require two readings before they are law. Gallman said second reading of the two ordinances are scheduled to be held at the next council meeting on Dec. 17.
In a related matter, council also voted unanimously to award bids for two of the projects that will be financed with the loans the city is seeking from the SRF.
Boulware Plumbing was awarded the bid for water improvements on four streets and sewer improvements on four other streets for $442,461.
The water improvement portion of the bid covers the replacement of the 16 valves, 13 fire hydrants, and water lines on Williams, Louise, Oak, and Mill streets. The sewer portion covers the sewer work on Coleman, Brown, Cross, and College streets.
J.L. Construction was awarded the bid for the upgrades to the Tosch Creek and Railroad Street pump stations for $198,200.
Utility Director Joe Nichols said the projects will be funded pending approval by DHEC of the awarding of the contracts.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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