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Providence council discusses improvements to city water system

October 1st, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Mitch Figgat

PROVIDENCE — The City Council voted to continue discussion on water budgets and proposed updates to the entire city water system.

Public Works Director Randy Eck and financial officer Skarlet Bankhead brought up the new water works system during a recent meeting. They asked that a total of $193,000 be approved by the council to purchase a new water works system. The new system would be an updated communication network between the reservoirs used by Providence and their water technicians.

“It’s a good time, we have the money so it would be a good time to change out,” said Bankhead.

The new system uses monitors placed up at all water sources that Providence uses. All the monitors are connected to the main system by radio signal.

“We have five reservoirs, and these new radio communicators send out reports every five minutes, with these we can locate trends in city water usage,” said Eck.

Some members of the council were wary to allow such a large expenditure.

“I want us to be extremely careful with our money, after the tax hikes, we need to be careful about fluff,” said Mayor Liechty.

Bankhead explained that the money that would be used for the new system would come from an account set up specifically for the use of public water works. The amount in the account does not earn interest over time, “so we may as well use it for what it was set aside to do,” said Bankhead.

The current water works system that monitors all the reservoirs is outdated, Eck said. All information passed from the monitors up at the reservoirs to Eck are transmitted through the phone lines, which have failed multiple times in the past.
“It has failed four times already this year, it could happen again tomorrow,” said Eck.

Eck and Bankhead said the current system is so out of date that any repairs and part replacements will cost more than normal, because the parts are hard to find and not manufactured anymore.

In other business, the council moved to create a master sewage plan. The plan would show all the waste and water lines already installed in the city limits as well as what would be built to accommodate new building projects. “We would be derelict in our duty if we did not do this to be ready for new business,” said Councilman John Russel.

To which Councilman Bill Bagley added, “just like Kevin Costner, if you build it they will come.”


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