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Vine Grove approves repairs to backup water source

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Water tower repairs are a tall task

By Marty Finley

mfinley@ thenewsenterprise.com
Vine Grove has found itself without a backup water source after unforeseen internal damage within its water tower delayed renovations and left it drained of water.
But Vine Grove City Council voted unanimously this week to approve a bid from Louisville-based Caldwell Tanks to make the repairs at a cost of $134,500.
City Clerk Cary Broussard said the city expects the work to be finished and the tower resupplied with water by Dec. 15. The tower will be painted in the spring, she said.
Mayor Donovan Smith said the city asked for bids to renovate the tower after it started leaking months ago. Once the tank was drained, however, the internal damage was revealed and the city had to re-evaluate the situation, Smith said.
“That made it a (different) ball game,” Smith said. 
The council originally discussed abandoning the current tank and diverting the money saved to expand a new tank the city plans to construct using state grant money. Smith said the city was awarded $1.2 million through Base Realignment and Closure grants to install a new tower and repair some old water lines. The city has received about $3 million in BRAC grants for water and wastewater improvements, Smith said in February, and an additional $840,000 in federal money to install sewer lines along the Ky. 313 corridor and Knox Avenue.
But the council ultimately nixed that option and decided to ask for new bids to repair the existing tower, Smith said.
Jim Bruce, general manager of Hardin County Water District No. 1, said he sent a letter to the city in September urging officials to have the tower fixed because the Kentucky Division of Water requires cities to have backup water storage.
Hardin County Water District No. 1 provides a water connection to Vine Grove, but Bruce said he informed the city the district could not be expected to provide service if an emergency arises — such as a natural disaster — that chokes water supplies.
Doing so would drain the district’s tanks, Bruce said. And without access to the district’s valve, the city would be left without water pressure.
Once informed of the water district’s concerns, the city kept the district appraised of the progress in repairing the tower, Bruce added.
Smith echoed Bruce, saying the discussions with the water district have been cordial and no problems have developed since the tower has been out of commission. Nor has the city received any complaints.
The city supplies about 2,200 customers with water, Broussard said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.