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Getting closer

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Water association awards bids for phase III expansion

The Fulton County Water Association has chosen the companies that will extend water lines and install another well in Phase III of the county's water system expansion.

After the association opened Phase III bids Nov. 21, the following three companies were among the lowest bidders: Hargan Construction of Desha will be responsible for the over 40 miles of new water line construction. Midwest Hydro Drilling of St. Clair, Mo., has been chosen for well construction. And Washington Pump from Brockwell will be responsible for constructing the new well house.

Plans for the project began in 2001 at the conclusion of the Phase II project, according to NAEC Member Service Coordinator Sherry Jackson.

During this completion of Phase II the water association conducted studies that concluded many Fulton County residents were without a reliable source of potable water, said Fulton County Water Association President Jerry Estes. With this newest expansion, water lines will extend along Highway 289 at Saddle, and another portion will extend along Highway 223 south of Viola, with a second well being added to the Bexar area, Estes said.

Though the water association is excited with the progress that is being made, Estes said this Phase III expansion will not go as far as was originally intended. Since the original plans were made, costs have risen, according to Estes.

Nonetheless, the water association is pleased with the progress that will be made.

Estes said the original well is approximately 15 year old, and though there have been few problems with the well, a second would provide uninterrupted service if the existing well were to be shut down for repairs.

"I'm very pleased with our first well, but as it gets older it will need repairs," Estes said. "This second well will give us the ability to not have to interrupt water service if any repairs are necessary."

This Phase III project will be financed in part through a USDA grant as well as a USDA Rural Development low interest loan. Though the process of getting this loan approval was tedious, Estes said, he has no doubts that the association's efforts are worthwhile.

"There's no question about the benefits of clean drinking water to the entire area," Estes said.

He said the progress that has been made would not have been possible without Jackson's efforts.

"As we progress we expect to see the continued need for expansion," Jackson said.

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