On February 22, 2022, Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by members of the Water and Sewer Infrastructure Committee and state leaders, announced more than $422 million in preliminary awards which will ensure communities in high-need areas have reliable and safe drinking water and wastewater systems. $2,165,063 of that $422 million has been awarded to the Town of Iron City for use in completing improvements to the community’s water system to provide adequate water quantity and quality to residents.
Iron City is in desperate need of water system improvements to its 90+ year old system to enable continued service to the town’s residents and businesses. Much of the system is comprised of lines smaller than two inches. The Town’s system is fed by two deep wells with a total pumping capacity of 350 gallons per minute and is pressurized by two 5,000 gallon pneumatic tanks at each well site. These tanks and wells cannot provide adequate volume or pressure to provide fire protection, and neither of the well sites is equipped with a back-up generator.
The Town of Iron City had previously secured a GEFA loan for $1,829,000 and a CDBG grant for $729,757 plus $40,000 in matching funds to complete improvements to the water system; however, due to rising construction costs caused by labor and materials shortages brought on by COVID-19, the City was unable to complete the needed water system improvements within that $2,598,757 budget. Iron City recently raised its water rates by 50% to secure the GEFA loan and any further increases would be burdensome to residents and small local businesses.
Iron City requested the additional $2,165,063 in SFRF grant funds to complete the improvements to the water system and allocated the loan and grant funds as leverage for the project. The target area for the proposed project includes the entire city limits, benefiting the total population of 312. The goals of the project include the installation of 6” and 8” watermains with fire hydrants and valves, construction of two new deep wells with chemical feed buildings and generators, abandoning its two existing wells, construction of a 100,000-gallon elevated water storage tank, and installation of radio read water meters for all service connections
Project activities and measurable goals include engineering design, permitting, public advertising and bidding for construction, contract award, notice to proceed with construction, and completion of construction for each of the proposed projects.
The new watermain will include valves, hydrants, and appurtenances, as needed. These improvements are desperately needed and will ensure residents have adequate water quality and quantity, even during and after natural disasters like Hurricane Michael. The new system components will also alleviate the one-man Public Works Department of the excessive repairs that are required for the existing system.
These improvements will comprise four separate projects that will be designed by a Georgia Registered Professional Engineer in accordance with the EPD’s “Minimum Standards for Public Water Systems.” All aspects of the project will be reviewed for approval by the EPD. Each of the projects will be advertised publicly for competitive bids in accordance with Georgia’s Public Works Laws. The milestones for each of these projects will include: project initiation (award of grant funds), engineering design, permitting, advertising for construction bids, opening of bids, awarding of contracts, notices to proceed with construction and completion of construction. The CDBG portion of the project is shovel-ready and will begin construction in the first quarter of 2022.
These projects can occur simultaneously and will be managed by the City’s Consulting Engineer who is experienced in managing projects of this nature. A detailed timeline for the proposed projects is included in the supporting documentation for Project Design and Implementation.