Jefferson amends Water Shortage Response Plan
by Dylan Lightfoot
Despite a snow storm and a power outage, the Jefferson Board of Aldermen met Monday evening as scheduled and, with the mayor, treasurer, town clerk and one alderman absent, conducted what Alderman Mark Johnston called “the second shortest meeting in town history, maybe the third.”
The board considered a single-item agenda: amendment of the 2010 Jefferson Water Shortage Response Plan to include additional trigger conditions.
Water Resources Director Tim Church said the plan, which meets all requirements of the N.C. Division of Water Resources, needed provisions specific to the town’s municipal well output.
Jefferson gets its water from the South Fork of the New River and three wells, Church said. There are five levels of response in the current plan triggered by decreasing river depth and water intake, but no triggers in place for decreased well output.
“What if we lose a well? What if yields are down?” he said.
Church’s proposed triggers for decreased well output were approved by the board, and an updated version of the Water Shortage Response Plan will be published in coming weeks, he said.
At Stage One of a water shortage, the public is encouraged to reduce usage, with no penalties for non-compliance. At Stage Five, water rationing is enforced, with $500 fines and discontinuation of service imposed for violations.
According to Church, the town has only once experienced a shortage that would trigger a response when a buried valve developed a leak causing a dip in water flow. Had the problem not been identified quickly, he said, Jefferson would have gone straight to Stage Two or Three of the plan, with mandatory reductions in water usage enforced.
The town’s three municipal wells deliver a combined flow of 210 gallons per minute, Church said. Jefferson’s 1,400 water consumers use 300,000-350,000 gallons per day.
Church also reported that modification of a BREMCO truck purchased for the water treatment plant had been accomplished for much less than anticipated. An initial $2,000 bid for removal of the truck’s bucket and bed had been considered, he said, but a more motivated bidder offered to remove the bed for free and pay the town $500 for it.
Mounting of a water tank to the truck is near completion. “Now we’ll have a new used sludge truck on the road,” he said.
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