Work on new Bovina tank to start by fall

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 19, 2009

Construction on a new water tank in Bovina is expected to begin by this fall, Culkin Water District officials said.

An aging, weatherbeaten tank just south of Interstate 20 in the east Warren County community will be taken down as part of the project — the latest in a string of improvements planned in the sprawling district in recent years.

Once built, the new elevated tank will hold 300,000 gallons of water and should enhance water service to the district’s southern reaches, general manager Ken McClellan said during a brief public hearing Thursday.

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Its $3.2 million cost will be financed by the Drinking Water Systems Improvement Revolving Loan Fund, administered by the Mississippi State Department of Health. The district’s 1.95 percent interest rate will accompany 20-year payback terms, but will not be passed on to ratepayers, officials said.

“We’re excited about our future,” McClellan said.

In 2008, new hydrants and a new water main were installed in Redwood with the help of the state loan program. Longer-range projects round out the basis of nearly $5 million in projects in an overall facilities plan first crafted in 1997 and updated this year. It involves addition of a fourth district-owned well to double Culkin’s water purifying capacity to 4 million gallons and a systemwide upgrade of the district’s network of pipes.

Though additional federal funding is likely to be sought as parts of the plan progress, a grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reimburse 75 percent of construction costs was approved in 2007 for facility upgrades. Also in 2007, the Culkin governing board passed $3.5 million in general obligation bonds to supplement funding formulas in place for the improvements.

A 12-inch water line will feed the tank and is part of construction costs for the overall project, said John W. Gahring of Neel-Schaffer, the board’s engineering firm. Maps indicate the line will begin near an existing water treatment plant on Birdsong Road, run along Tiffintown Road and bore under U.S. 80 and the interstate.

“(Improvements) will loop the entire system with a large enough line so there will be enough pressure all the way,” Culkin advisory board attorney Ken Harper said.

Created by the Legislature in the 1950s, Culkin is among the oldest and largest independent water districts in Mississippi. Its customer base of about 4,250 serves areas in northeast Warren County, with its major commercial users being River Region Medical Center and facilities located at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex.

Members of its five-member board are appointed by Warren County supervisors, who have not claimed any regulatory authority beyond choosing board membership.

Growth in areas served by the district has been the steadiest in recent decades and figures to remain so — 12 subdivisions working their way through various pre-approval phases with county supervisors are located inside the water district’s service area.

Its rates are not regulated by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, but its water quality is measured by state health officials. Monthly rates, last increased in 2008, stand at $29.50 for up to 3,000 gallons used. Additional fees kick in at $3.60 for every thousand gallons up to 1 million and $3.10 for usage exceeding 1 million.

Warren County’s other nonmunicipal water districts are Fisher Ferry and Hilldale, with about 1,800 customers each in the south-central portions of the county, and the Yokena-Jeff Davis and Eagle Lake districts, with about 1,500 customers served between them.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at