Representatives of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board presented a check Friday to city officials at Konawa, to finance protective measures at two of the town’s at-risk water wells.
State Sen. Susan Paddack and state Rep. Tom Newell presented the ceremonial check for $98,435 to Mayor Virginia Simms and Interim City Manager, Joe Leeds on behalf of the Konawa Public Works Authority. Also attending the event in Konawa was Jennifer Wasinger, assistant chief of the Water Resources Board’s Financial Assistance Division.
The grant, from the state’s Rural Economic Action Plan program, will be used to extend the well casing and build an elevated platform for the pumps and controls on two of the town’s nine water wells, and to construct seven-tenths of a mile of water lines, blueprints show.
Joe Freeman, chief of the Water Resources Board’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated that the REAP grant will save Konawa utility customers more than $177,000, by not having to borrow the money.
According to Wall Engineering of Hugo, the nine wells can pump their groundwater directly to Konawa’s water treatment plant south of town, or to a nearby raw-water storage tank.
However, the water mains that extend from the wells to the town’s low-service pump station are in poor condition, and breaks in the raw-water main can disrupt production, professional engineer Brandon Wall wrote in an August 2011 report.
Some of the REAP grant proceeds will be used to install 1,636 linear feet of 2-inch diameter PVC pipe among the water wells, and to install 2,030 linear feet of 6-inch water main through the center of the well field to transport groundwater from the wells to the pre-treatment storage tank.
The well water requires little processing. The town’s treatment plant has sand filters that “target the removal of iron and manganese” from the groundwater, Wall said, and the filtered water is then chlorinated.
Afterward, potable water from the treatment plant usually is pumped to a water storage standpipe in town, near the school. However, the standpipe started leaking last spring and had to be drained so repairs could be made to the bottom of the tank.
Municipal records indicate average daily water consumption over the past three years in the town of 1,300 residents was 110,000 gallons, Wall said. Konawa’s water treatment plant was constructed in 1939, but its variable-speed pumps were replaced just a few years ago, chlorinator parts have been replaced, and the filter is due for attention next.
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Besides the 130,000-gallon raw water storage tank near the treatment plant, Konawa has a pair of 31,500-gallon raw water tanks near the river which replaced a dilapidated facility; four 20,000-gallon storage tanks at the water treatment plant; and the 300,000-gallon standpipe.
The Water Board has awarded more than $50.4 million in REAP grants over the past 15 years, Freeman said.
Besides the REAP grant, the Water Resources Board awarded an emergency grant to Konawa three years ago after pump failure and a water main break left the Seminole County town without water. The repair job featured construction of almost three miles of 4-inch water line from the well field to the water treatment plant, and installation of new water transfer pumps. The project was financed with the $78,937 emergency state grant, coupled with $13,930 in local funds, records reflect.
Since 1983 the OWRB has approved more than $2.9 billion in loans and grants to improve and enhance the water and wastewater infrastructure needs of communities across Oklahoma.