The collapse of a sewer that serves most of the area between Shannon and Rome will cost between $3 million and $4 million to repair, Rome Water and Sewer Department Director Mike Hackett said Thursday.
A large section of ductile iron sewer main behind the mini-storage units off Ga. Loop 1 across from Calvary Baptist Church collapsed. At this point it has been replaced with a temporary splice to keep service going until a permanent fix can be undertaken.
The entire line from that area to the Oostanaula River across from the Avenue A lift station will have to be replaced. That's almost three miles worth of sewer line.
One good note is, the water and sewer enterprise fund contains approximately $19 million in reserves.
The work will have to be contracted out. Hackett said that once a contractor is brought on board, it should take approximately nine months to complete the work.
Wholesale rate charges
Rome Water and Sewer Committee members spent a considerable amount of time discussing changes to the wholesale water rate the city charges Floyd County.
Right now that rate is $1.46 per thousand gallons. Floyd County pays the city of Calhoun $1.51 per thousand gallons and has a contract that guarantees they will purchase at least 18 million gallons a month from Calhoun.
So far this year, Floyd County has purchased 60.8 million gallons from Rome but has bought 174.2 million gallons from Calhoun. That's a loss for the city.
Hackett said that the amount of water the county has purchased from Calhoun above the contracted minimum would have resulted in an additional $121,598 to the Rome system if it had purchased that water from the city.
"Whatever we're charging them right now is not enough," said Commissioner Wendy Davis.
Commissioner Jim Bojo, who chairs the committee, reiterated concerns that new water lines in the Floyd Springs and Everett Spring area were funded by a SPLOST backed by Rome voters but are supplied by the Calhoun system.
Assistant Water and Sewer Director John Boyd said the same situation would most likely develop with new Texas Valley water lines.
"It's not fair to our city customers," added Commissioner Sundai Stevenson. City water customers pay $3.72 per thousand gallons.
Stevenson suggested the city charge the county $2.67 no matter how much the county chooses to buy. However. Bojo said that the panel should take some additional time to review all of the data before making a recommendation to the full city commission.
Industrial wastewater surcharge hike
The committee approved significant increases in the surcharge for pretreatment of industrial wastewater, which is paid by industrial customers.
"They will not be shell-shocked. We have been communicating with them," said Boyd.
For example, Ball Corp. paid a $492 surcharge this year. That will increase to approximately $6,566 next year. Marglen paid $15,284 this year and is expected to see that go up to $72,300 next year. Lewis Chemical paid $6,640 this year and their surcharge will go up to $13,400 next year.
"By law we are supposed to charge the industry what it costs us," said Johnny Massingill, director of the Rome Water Reclamation plant.
He said that while those increases are high, they are much cheaper than a company having to build and operate its own sewage treatment plant.