Projects On Tap

Published 6:47 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

While Brookhaven officials consider citywide water and sewersystem improvements, some smaller projects – in the Brignall andOle Brook areas – are wrapping up or are about to begin.

“The city has tons of annexation improvements that they are lookingat and at the same time they have rehabilitation work that needs tocontinue inside the existing city limits,” said Principal MikeMcKenzie, who is with WGK, the city’s engineering firm.

About 40 or 50 houses have been taking advantage of drainagerecently made possible by the city’s Ole Brook sewer project.

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“We hope that they would realize it has improved their standard ofliving whether they wanted it or not,” said McKenzie.

The Ole Brook sewer system project is complete except for roadworkneeded after construction crews installed the new piping.

“This is the first project done in the annexed area to providesewer to residents that were annexed,” said McKenzie.

The Ole Brook project began around February and encompasses areassuch as South First Street, Hall Street, Ole Brook Road, WashingtonAvenue, O’Neal Street, Booker Street and a portion of South SecondStreet.

“They’re so close to town, they should have been included in thecity limits a long time ago,” said Mayor Les Bumgarner.

The Ole Brook sewer project included the installation of only sewerlines, as the residents in the area were already on city water. Thecost of the project is about $800,000, with $400,000 being paid forthrough a grant.

“We just felt like that was a good starting place, especially sincewe got some grant help,” said Bumgarner.

As crews work to place the final touches on the Ole Brook sewersystem, city officials will look ahead to the construction of theBrignall Fire Loop.

“The rural water systems are there to provide drinking water,they’re not there to provide fire protection,” said McKenzie.

The WGK official said construction on the loop is expected to beginin late summer and finish by Jan. 1.

“This line that we’re building is simply for fire protection,” saidMcKenzie.

The number of hydrants is still unknown, but McKenzie said onecould be placed within 500 feet of each house.

Bumgarner said the cost of the fire loop project is roughly$800,000 with about half of the funding coming through a grant,which the county qualified for.

“You protect lives and property,” said Bumgarner. “Those are bigthings.”

While one project nears completion and one gets under way,officials will investigate a major waterworks project that is thecity of Brookhaven.

“Water and sewer lines are buried, so until they break you don’tknow there is a problem,” said McKenzie.

Bumgarner said it would cost around $35 to $40 million to completethe overhaul, with the funding coming from the water/sewerbudget.

“It’s just hard to build up a reserve in the water/sewer fund,”said Bumgarner. “We try to keep the rates as low as we possiblycan.”

Bumgarner said officials would begin to budget for $2 to $3 millionprojects a year to tackle the ocean-sized endeavor, with the nextbudget being due by Oct. 1.

Where to begin work could depend on where the city will receive themost return for its investment.

“It’s gotta be paid for,” said Bumgarner. “If you don’t take inenough customers, it’s not cost effective.”

McKenzie said a meeting with the city’s aldermen could happenwithin the next couple of weeks. Engineers with WGK are expected tosuggest a plan of action and advise the city on how to go aboutcompleting the project.

“I think that’s going to be an ideal way of getting this going,”said McKenzie. “It’s a lot of information to try and digest at onetime (during one board meeting).”