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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2007
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A fishing boat passes a work crew doing tests on the river bottom near Hudson Memorial Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
Daily photo Gary Cosby Jr.
A fishing boat passes a work crew doing tests on the river bottom near Hudson Memorial Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

Testing in the Tennessee
Water authority hunts for rocks Limestone planning to purchase 8 million more gallons of water per day from DU

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

That small barge with a drill near Rhodes Ferry Park and the Tennessee River Bridge is not someone prospecting for oil.

The Limestone County Water & Sewer Authority employed engineers to test for rock in the area, according to Lisa Morris of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Nashville.

Anticipating growth in eastern Limestone County, the authority is planning to purchase 8 million more gallons of water per day from Decatur Utilities.

Because the bridges crossing the river would not support the proposed 30-inch line, Morris said the authority has to run the line under the river.

The Corps of Engineers has not issued permits for the water line, but the federal agency has given the authority permission to test for rock.

Greg Holland of the authority said the testing is part of the engineering phase. The entire project has an estimated cost of $10 million, he said.

DU has been selling 2 million gallons of water per day to the authority since 1992. On Oct. 17, the board approved a resolution to sell an additional 8 million gallons.

But, transferring 10 millions gallons of water per day requires a line larger than the existing 16-inch line that runs along the Tennessee River Bridge.

DU expects the pipe to connect to a water line near Line and Market streets Northwest.

Decatur will continue to use the 16-inch line to supply water to its Limestone County customers north on U.S. 31 to Sandy Road, and west on Alabama 20 to Interstate 65.

Morris said the new line will be a directional bore, meaning drilling will start on dry land and continue underwater until it reaches the other side of the river.

"The line has to stay out of the commercial channel so that it's not exposed to someone hitting it," she said.

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