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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2007
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DU approves increasing gallons of water sold

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com · 340-2441

In this period of extreme drought where the excess of water is a rare commodity, Decatur Utilities is rich.

DU sells 2 million gallons of water a day to the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority and is looking to sell more — 8 million gallons more.

The DU board approved a resolution Wednesday that would let DU increase the number of gallons it sells. The resolution, created by the authority and approved by DU, outlines the conditions of an agreement that would replace the existing contract enacted in 1992, and expected to last 30 years.

Even though the current year is 2007 and not 2022, the authority is planning for the future, which includes an anticipated population growth in East Limestone County.

“We are putting down the groundwork now for the next 15 to 20 years,” authority General Manager Tony Sneed said. “In new developments last year, 2,750 new homes were built in our eastern quadrant.”

Transferring 10 million gallons of water across the Tennessee River requires a pipe larger than the existing 16-inch pipe that runs along the Tennessee River Bridge. The authority plans to replace the pipe, which can carry 4 million gallons of water, with a 36-inch pipe, capable of distributing the 10 million gallons needed.

According to the agreement, the authority holds responsibility for all infrastructure expenses incurred, including laying the pipe under the river. DU expects the pipe to connect to a water line in the area of Line and Market streets Northeast.

“This agreement is a result of good dialogue between our two companies and will be positive and very good for both parties,” said Neal Holland, DU board chairman.

Benefits from this agreement will extend to the authority, DU and DU’s customers.

“Spreading the costs out and selling more water helps to postpone any future rate increases for our customers,” DU Interim General Manager Stan Keenum explained.

DU will continue to use the existing pipe to supply water to its customers in Limestone County, which include properties north along U.S. 31 to Sandy Road, and west on Alabama 20 to Interstate 65.

Keenum hopes the City Council includes the contract for discussion at the next meeting. If approved, the term of the contract would span 25 years with a possible five-year extension.

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