“We’re all in this thing together,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup said Wednesday. “If we can help them, we’re going to help them.”
He said Riverside could supply Pell City with the water it needs until the Coosa Valley Water Supply District surface water treatment facility is up and running.
Officials say the multimillion dollar surface water treatment plant is scheduled to be completed 18 months after work begins. Construction of the new facility could start as early as November.
“Right now, we don’t have a way to pump it (water) to them,” Jessup said Wednesday. “We’re currently getting prices.”
Jessup said the initial process of joining the two water systems so there is adequate flow between the cities has been in the works for more than two weeks.
He said city workers could do the work and the only cost is for materials and a pump.
Jessup said the cost to join the Riverside and Pell City water systems is estimated at less than $50,000. With the water systems linked, the cities could help one another when there is a need.
“We could split the connection cost,” he added. “The county could help us with this as part of the Coosa Valley Water project.”
Jessup said the water connection is good for both Riverside and Pell City.
He said Riverside has more than enough water to meet the water needs of its citizens while supplementing Pell City’s water needs for the next couple of years.
“We did a study in 2006 that basically said our wells could provide twice the amount of water than they are currently supplying at this time,” Jessup said.
According to a November 2008 joint press release from Pell City and Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC, the company that now owns the old Avondale Mills well, the old Avondale Mills well provides approximately 637,000 gallons of water per day, and accounts for about one-quarter of Pell City’s water supply.
Jessup said when Pell City begins buying its water from the Coosa Valley Water Supply District, it is going to look for customers. The water connection would allow Riverside to purchase water, if the need arises.
According to Pell City’s agreement with the Coosa Valley Water Supply District, the city is responsible for purchasing 750,000 gallons of water per day once the surface water treatment plant is up and running.
Hereford said he and Jessup have only talked in passing about joining the two systems together and that the two cities are only installing a water meter to keep track of the volume of water flowing through the lines.
Hereford said Wednesday this is the first he’s heard about Riverside’s ability to help Pell City meet its water needs.
“Right now, our rock-solid well is at the Avondale property,” he said.
The Avondale well has a maximum pumping capacity of 1.152 million gallons a day.
Hereford said the two systems are connected, but he did not know Riverside could supplement Pell City’s water supply until the surface water treatment plant is up and running.
“I never heard that before until this minute,” he said Wednesday.
Riverside has two wells online, Jessup said.
Pell City is in negotiations with Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC, for the purchase of the old Avondale Mills well and mill site and has been since late last year. The city proceeded with condemnation of the old Avondale Mills well site in May after negotiations of Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC, stalled.
St. Clair County Probate Court Judge Mike Bowling ordered in September that Pell City would have to pay Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC, a subsidiary of Thunder Enterprises of Chattanooga, $750,000 for the 1-acre well site. The price was set by a three-member commission appointed by the judge to determine the fair market value of the well property.
A little more than two weeks ago, the Pell City mayor and council voted to appeal the condemnation ruling by the St. Clair County Probate Court.
The city has not officially appealed the case in St. Clair County Circuit Court, but negotiations between the city and Pell City-Tifton Properties continue.
Kevin Whiteside, president of Pell City-Tifton Properties, said Tuesday that Hereford continues to negotiate for both the mill and well site, and has increased his offer for the combined properties several times in the past two weeks.
Pell City-Tifton Properties also alleges the city owes the company more than $70,000 for the use of its well, located along U.S. 231 South, and has filed a claim against the city.
Hereford said even if Riverside could provide the water needed by Pell City, he does not think it is possible for the two cities to iron out any type of an agreement before next week’s appeal deadline.