Lanett considers options presented by Clearwater Solutions

Published 8:48 am Friday, September 2, 2022

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LANETT — The Lanett City Council is reviewing several options presented by Clearwater Solutions, the city’s water and wastewater contractor, on its continued operations going into next year.

Clearwater representative Jeff Ashton reviewed those options at a Tuesday work session at city hall.

Clearwater handles all matters relating to the city’s water and wastewater systems.

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“This month alone we have completed 80 work requests and are on pace to have over 700 his year alone,” Ashton said.

The company has been renting a mini excavator for $2,100 a month to help get this done. Ashton said it is not sustainable to do that long-term. Purchasing this piece of equipment is included in the options presented to the council.

“The cost everything is going up,” Ashton said. “This includes fuel, maintenance and insurance. We have to have a mini excavator and a trailer to transport it on.”

There’s also a need to hire two equipment operators and two field technicians.

Ashton cited the increased cost of chlorine gas as another factor handicapping Clearwater’s operations in Lanett. This is used at the wastewater plant and has doubled in the last year.

“The cost of doing business has gone up across the board for everyone,” he said.

Ashton said the plant needs to have a clarifier replaced. The wastewater plant has two of them. Both are 75 feet in diameter. One of them is down and the other is in need of refurbishing. If both are down, raw sewage will be getting into the Chattahoochee River.

“It’s a critical piece of equipment,” Ashton said. “It’s old and corroded.”

The clarifiers date to the 1970s and were refurbished in the early 200os.

Repairing it properly will cost over $100,000.

“We need two of them,” Ashton said. “It’s a critical key to wastewater operation.”

“We will have to study this before voting on it,” said Council Member Tony Malone.

“We will have to do some number crunching on it,” added Council Member Ronnie Tucker.

On another subject, Mayor Jamie Heard said that each council district would have at least one street paved this year. That includes South 7th Street, which hasn’t been resurfaced since the 1950s and is now in really bad condition.

City Attorney Stanley Gray updated the council on an issue involving the city and the city school system.

The issue involves which entity owns the land the city schools are located on.

There’s no question the city school board and administration is charged with the daily operation of the schools.

School officials want it clarified that the city has the title to the land and will lease it back to the school system. The property owner is responsible for the insurance and that runs around $27,000 a year.

“They don’t want us to buy it but to take ownership of it,” Heard said.