Fairhope plans $7.59M water system expansion

By GUY BUSBY
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/3/22

FAIRHOPE — An expansion of Fairhope's water system will add 33% to the municipal capacity in an effort to meet growing demands, city officials said.The Fairhope City Council voted Monday, July …

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Fairhope plans $7.59M water system expansion

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FAIRHOPE — An expansion of Fairhope's water system will add 33% to the municipal capacity in an effort to meet growing demands, city officials said.

The Fairhope City Council voted Monday, July 25, to accept a bid from the Creel Company to add a new well, pump and treatment building at Water Treatment Plant 3 at a cost of about $7.59 million.

The Creel submission was the lower of two bids received for the project.

Jason Langley, water and sewer superintendent, said the new well will increase the city's water capacity by about 2.8 million gallons a day.

Councilman Jay Robinson said the bid was more than city officials had hoped to receive, but the project has to begin.

"It's a big number, but it's got to be done," Robinson said. "The price is what the price is."

"In light of some of the issues that we've had recently, it's imperative that we get stuff like this done sooner rather than later," Robinson added later in the meeting.

Councilman Jack Burrell said city officials have known that the system has to be expanded.

"We've talked about this for weeks and even months," Burrell said. "While it looks like a big price tag, but when you really think that you're increasing the production of our fresh water by a full 33%, it's not so unreasonable."

Langley said the new well and system will produce about 2,800 gallons of water a minute.

In June, the city council declared a water emergency after consumption almost exceeded the city's total water capacity of 9 million gallons a day.

Langley said that since then, weather conditions have reduced demands, but the city still needs to increase capacity.

"It's very much needed," Langley said. "We've been lucky. The good Lord's been blessing us with rain, so we've kept our water totals under 6 million a day for the last couple of weeks, so we're holding our own. We're doing very well. Our main breaks have been less. The guys, what few we've had, the guys have responded quick."

Langley said department officials are also looking at plans to add another well in the future.

At an earlier council meeting, Mayor Sherry Sullivan said the city has not added a new well in 15 years while Fairhope's population has doubled in the last decade.

The $7.59 million cost of the new well will be paid with $3 million from the city's budget for the 2022 fiscal year and $4.59 million from the 2023 budget, according to the resolution approved July 25.

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