Plan to safeguard Glade water supply seems viable
By JIM ARBER
Special To The Vista
Part II of II
Up here on the Plateau we’re sailing along in pretty good shape. No big political or economic storms on the horizon, not a lot of crime, no unforeseen difficult events.
OK, so the population here is getting a bit more “seasoned” that’s not so bad. Fairfield Glade itself has even gotten a bit of a facelift. The place was starting to look a little threadbare from years of neglect. Things are now lookin better in Fairfield Glade — thanks in large measure to our manager, Bob Weber and his staff of stalwarts.
About the only really negative up here right now is the condition of Peavine road and those pig ugly signs that seem to be multiplying. But that’s for another story.
Sadly, in spite of how rosy the outlook is, it’s not all peaches and cream. We have a storm brewing beyond that horizon. How far beyond is not certain. What is certain is that it is there and it could be monumental. Bet on it.
Some folks, when asked where the water comes from would tell you, “from the faucet.” Others would say “from the lake” or “from the creek” or “from the river.” All wrong. Water up here on the Plateau has only one source. That single source of water up here is rainfall.
That rainwater makes its way into creeks then rivers then on down to the valley. It only flows in one direction, down. We must keep enough of the rainfall we receive up here on the Plateau to satfisy our own needs. Once it flows down the mountain into the valley it is lost to us. Pumping it back up is too costly and even damaging to the environment.
At our present rate of population growth and development we will not have sufficient fresh water to take care of all our future needs. The amount of fresh water available is not growing, demand is.
There is a plan. Fortunately, it’s been proposed before we entered any kind of crises mode. Thanks to the foresight and imagination by the Crab Orchard Utility District manager, we now have a viable solution to the shortfall if we can make it work. It seems it has an excellent chance.
This scenario started back in 2002 amid all the angst and legal action taken against COUD back then. A new board of directors was appoiinted by the County Mayor. The current GM resigned amid all this invsestigation. A new GM was necessary. The newly appointed board interviewed several people finally settling on the current GM Everett Bolin. Good choice. Everett did indeed right the ship and it has been operating about as efficiently as a Utility District can.
At some point after his appointment, Mr. Bolin began to realize that the water supply as configured would not be adequate for predicted future demand — that future that is over the horizon.
So he came up with a plan. He knew of an abandoned quarry in Crab Orchard. He knew that Daddy’s Creek had a significant flow of water, year round. Further, Daddy’s Creek was not terribly distant from the abandoned quarry. The plan percolated. It got fleshed out and eventually took on a life of its own.
Much had to be accomplished. An engineering study was commissioned to calculate capacity and to configure possible infrastructure. That has been started and close to completion. Of course, approvals must be obtained. You are aware that we now live in Regulation Nation.
As you can imagine, every Federal, State and Local agency within earshot has to get their two cents in. Including TDEC, TWM. FWM, NPS, EPA, Dept. of Interior and Exterior NBA, BBC, NFL and the SOB’s. Anyway, It has so far been nothing but green lights. TDEC requested some additional information and that has largely been collected.
The quarry itself must be purchased but that also is not seen as a big stumbling block. From here it looks clean and green. We just need to be patient and resolute.
One worry was the hard fact that no more than 5% of the water flow can be taken from Daddy’s Creek. That proved to be easy as we would never need more than 5% of Daddy’s Creek water during any year. In fact, unless something unforseen happens we will never even need all of that that 5%. It was fortunate that two water flow meters had been installed measuring Daddy’s creek for decades. That historical information is vital in getting approvals.
Some interesting statistics: It is estimated that the quarry when full will hold 300 MILLION gallons of water. It will take months, not years to fill. The new treatment plant will have a 4 million gallon per day capacity. It will be constructed so that an upgrade to 6 million gallons per day will not be difficult.
If need be, it would be possible at some point to supply all of Crab Orchard as well as much of South Cumberland, including Tansi, with fresh water.
Yes folks, this is a big deal and will be a good supply of water to Cumberland for decades. It is the reason Everett Bolin has not retired as yet. The reason this plan must succeed.
The Crab Orchard Utility District is in capable hands. The water that leaves the treatment plant now is sometimes better than the bottled water you buy and it costs a tiny fraction of what you gladly pay at the Super Market.
The plan for the future will work. We have General Manager Everett Bolin to thank for his dedication to a secure future for many, many years.
We also have Gerald Williams at the treatment plant to thank for his expertise and dedication.
Our water and our water future here is excellent due in large part to the folks at COUD.
Jim Arber is a Freelance writer and leisure professional residing in Cumberland County TN. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]