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GPIWA reviews 2020 projects, looks ahead

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Mar 3, 2021

Workers paint the water tank at the Greater Pine Island Water Association. Photo provided

pleblanc@breezenewspapers.com

At the annual meeting of the Greater Pine Island Water Association, projects taken on in 2020 were discussed, such as instrumentation for the RO plant controls, rewiring of the deep injection, monitoring and clearwell, the Pine Island Road project, container removal, repainting of the storage tank, radio read meters installation and the creation of the tank at the center office.

And, the board decided no water rate increase was needed for 2021.

General Manager Laurie Adams described the rewiring of the wells as a complicated project. In most cases, she said, the systems are dependent on the wiring, making it a significant undertaking.

The Pine Island Road project, which consisted of approximately 4,200 linear feet of PVC piping, was slowed due to one of the previous pipes being struck before it was taken out. In addition to repainting the 3 million gallon storage tank at the center office, a significant amount of work was completed renovating the inside of the tank.

A comparison was made from 2019 to 2020 water usage, showing a significant increase in 2020, explained by Adams due to the number of people likely homebound during 2020.

The 2021 adopted budget holds no rate increase, Adams said, adding that the GPIWA is healthy.

Goals for 2021 include enhanced reliability and efficiency, construction of phase 1 Fruit Streets water main, services and hydrants, replacing 1,400 water meters to radio read technology, improved planning, prioritization and oversight of capitol projects with staff professional engineer, and a comprehensive five-year rate study covering 2022-2026. There was an approval through 2021 to increase the rate by 2 percent each year, which the board opted not to do, because it was not needed, even with all the capitol projects, said Adams.

Regarding the phase one Fruit Streets project, Adams said it is currently in review.

“It’s called a limited development order,” said Adams, explaining that it goes through many processes, including a fire code, which means the installation of approximately 25 hydrants for fire protection.

Water loss reduction, Adams said, has many components and is something she would like to see a continuous priority. The pieces to this include everything from leaks and hydrant flushing to accuracy of meters.

“You have to be looking everywhere in order to try to bring that down,” said Adams. “Water lost is water not sold.”

Regarding security, Adams said, supervisory control of the plant and data acquisition is managed through a virtual private network. The system, she said, is continuously evaluated and physical security is heavy. No unsupervised chemical treatment is allowed, such as the caustic added for PH adjustment.

“There’s been a lot this year,” said Adams, “but regardless of COVID, hurricanes…whatever, we still have to produce water.”

The newly elected board includes John Cammick, president; Ross Hableib, vice president; Michael Rose, treasurer; and Frank Potter, secretary.