​SUD Reviews Water Tank Lease

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Discussion at the Sept. 25 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners brought attention to insurance concerns, delaying approval of the lease agreement that would allow Franklin County to install three communication antennae and a microwave dish on the SUD farm tank. These would help to facilitate county-wide communication for law enforcement and emergency responders. In other business, the board received an update on the waterline replacement project and issued a call for candidates to run for SUD commissioner in the January election.
SUD Board President Charlie Smith questioned whether the lease agreement should name SUD as additional insured on the required insurance policies held by the county and independent contractors hired by the county.
“If I was personally entering into this contract, I would want to be named as additional insured so I would know if the policy was cancelled,” Smith said. “As additional insured, SUD would receive notice from the carrier.”
SUD manager Ben Beavers will consult with SUD’s attorney about adding an “additional insured” requirement to the lease.
SUD Commissioner Paul Evans took issue with the county’s lease document being poorly written and SUD needing to “spend time and money to improve it.”
“We need to make sure we have our interests covered,” Smith said.
Updating the board on progress in replacing old cast-iron waterlines in central Sewanee, Beavers said the Florida Avenue section was completed and the contractors were “headed up South Carolina Avenue.” He estimated the project was one-fourth to one-third finished, giving January as the projected completion date.
Plans call for sanitizing and testing each section as it’s completed, according to Beavers. Residences will then be connected to the new line, but water will continue to flow in both systems until the entire project is finished. Beavers expressed concern that shutting off sections of the old line could cause problems in the remaining line due to “changes in the pressure profile,” since the new line is larger diameter pipe.
Evans asked if SUD faced possible liability issues from leaving the old line in the ground.
“There’s so much cast-iron pipe with lead joints in the country it would be very expensive to dig it all up,” Beavers said, and “if it was dug up, it would be reburied.”
Beavers predicted in the future lead service connections would not be allowed. “The important thing for us is to totally disconnect the lines.”
Two commissioner seats will come open for election in January, an at-large seat now held by Randall Henley and the single Marion County seat now held by Ronnie Hoosier. Individuals interested in seeking election should contact Beavers at (931) 598-5611. Regulations require three candidates for each seat. Both Henley and Hoosier will seek reelection.
The board approved the revised South Cumberland Regional Drought Plan drafted by Beavers on behalf of the four Plateau water utilities. The plan provides for cooperation among the utilities in the event of a drought.
Reporting on inspection of commercial accounts to determine if the customer needs to install a backflow prevention device, Beavers said the inspection was almost one-third complete. So far two customers were determined to need backflow prevention devices. Beavers recommended looking next at residential accounts “for small things that are potentially a bigger backflow hazard.” He cited rainwater collection, irrigation, and hydronic heat exchange systems where foreign fluids and contaminants could enter the drinking water supply.
Turning to the need to select an auditor by Dec. 31, Beavers pointed out the firm SUD used last year changed hands. “They haven’t done any outreach to us,” Beavers said. On Smith’s recommendation, Beavers will invite a representative from the firm to the next meeting scheduled for Oct. 23.