With the Department of Natural Resources constantly breathing down their necks, the city of Hardin is looking for solutions to water and sewer problems that plague the small town east of Richmond.
The Board of Aldermen met with Ray County Water District No. 2 Superintendent John Ritchie this week to begin negotiations to supply water to the small town.
The meeting was more of a get familiar with each other gathering to find out where each party stands.
Ritchie said he didn’t put any real hard numbers together because he wanted to find out how serious the Aldermen were about moving forward.
Ritchie said the only improvement needed to hook onto Ray No. 2 is a master water meter that needs to be installed. He said the meter should cost less than $1,000 and the total installation price would be between $2,500 and $3,000, although Public Works Director Larry Eastley said he could do the installation.
Ritchie said he could not give the board a definite figure for what water rates would be per thousand because the Ray No. 2 Board will soon decide to raise rates and he doesn’t know what those rates will be yet.
“We haven’t raised our rates in a long time and we are going to have to raise them on account of everything this year has about doubled on us,” Ritchie told the board. “But they won’t double the rates.”
Ritchie said Ray No. 2 could supply Hardin with about 50,000 gallons a day. Over the summer, water usage has been about 40,000 gallons on average. Eastley said that number would go down in the winter.
He said the city could go over the limit on occasion but would not be able to on a regular basis. He said improvements have to made before any more supplies of water could run east.
“We would be able to serve you without hurting us but on a day to day basis I’m not sure we could,” Ritchie said referring to the over use. “We’re getting to the point where we’re going to have to do something in this area before we do too much more. If John Doe wanted to come out and build 50 houses east of town, they would be in trouble.”
Eastley said in addition to having better water and DNR off the city’s back, the water quality should improve as far as hardness and softness. He also said the city would not be required to have a back-up operator or a back-up generator if power failed.
“If lightning hits his deal he has to have a generator. That takes a whole lot of pressure off of us,” Eastley said.
Eastley said the city would still have to maintain the old water plant on a minimal basis because the city is still paying off the tower. Eastley said in the event of a water leak, the city could use the old plant until repairs are made.
“If we have a water leak, we can shut his valve down and use our water to maintain the pressure in the line.,”
Ritchie said he will go back to the board to come up with a proposal and they should have an answer of cost by next month’s meeting.