La Grange exploring improvement to water and drainage issues
During last week's Town of La Grange regular meeting, Town Manager John Craft made a presentation about the well and wastewater collections systems improvement plan. With all the recent rain the area has received, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We have some issues with drainage, but no more than any other town,” said La Grange Mayor Pro Tempore Bobby R. Wooten. “I don’t care how great your systems are, when you are getting ½ inch to 2 inches of rain every day with torrential downpours for over a week, you’re going to have problems.
"Most of the time we are in pretty good shape. The system just needs some updating.”
Some of that rain ended up flooding some parts in and around La Grange, including backing up onto U.S. 70. Digging out some of the drainage ditches, with the help of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, will help some of that. Overall, at times during the downpours, the drainage that is built to handle 750,000 gallons of water had to deal with more than 6 million gallons.
Flood monitoring data, based on instruments that were placed to test the system, should be ready this week. This data will allow the town to come up with solutions to solve some of the problems in the event of future extreme storms.
But Craft was focusing on the internal systems for the town itself.
“Some of the systems that we have in place were built in the 1920s," he said. "As the town expanded, they expanded that system. The problem is that the pipes go from 12 inches to 6 to 8 (and) back to 12 again. Hydraulically, that doesn’t work. It slows down the pressure and the flow. So, some areas of the town get great pressure and others are weaker.
"And as the town is expanding, that creates a stress on the system.
A part of the problem affects the fire hydrant systems. Because of the flow of the pressure, some areas are stronger than others. A proposal to replace all of the 6-inch pipes with 12-inch ones will make it consistent and loop it throughout the town. Thus, officials hope it will send the water through smaller pipes that stay smaller to keep the pressure up.
Also, the improved lines will help with ISO-approved flow rates. That would affect residents because, with the increased pressure and flow, it would lower the home insurance rates as it would make it easier to put out any potential fires within the town.
Once the collected data has been reviewed, a full plan can be created. Craft felt the project could cost between $1-$3 million in total. However, he felt that they could easily get a USDA grant that would cover most of the cost.
“The designs we have are not perfect. All the lines are interconnected, but it doesn’t allow for consistent flow that works. This plan would greatly improve water flow for all of our residents,” Craft said. “And as the community grows, it would make it easier to add on as needed.”