An update from Bill Mattox, head of the New Albany Light, Gas and Water Department, shows he’s doing what he said he would do.
A couple of months ago he told the Board of Aldermen he would have a study of the city’s water problems done and a list of options and their costs completed by June or July.
Last week he provided an overview of how the work is going. He said the city’s current water supply, the Eutaw-McShands Aquifer, could supply about 3 million gallons of water a day. The city consumes about 1.2 million gallons, pumped through seven wells.
However, he said that the city would face a challenge in supplying enough water if a large water-consuming industrial customer were to locate here. He said he is examining alternatives. In any case, an eighth well will have to be drilled do meet the city’s needs, he said.
The department also is studying the discolored water problem and what it would take to clear it up, both in treatment alternatives and in retrofitting the distribution system with modern pipe.
The cost of dealing with both the supply and distribution issues could be $10 million to $20 million, which might mean water rates would double over a five-year period, he said. However, New Albany rates still would be in line with surrounding communities.
Everyone knew getting a handle on our problems would be expensive, and the cost will only get higher if we put off dealing with them.
What we appreciate is the professional, business-like approach Mattox has taken in grappling with the problem. It can only lead to stronger citizen and board support for whatever the department determines needs to be done.