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Russell Rural Water District Number Three Begins Major Improvements

Russell Rural Water District Number Three Project
Russell Rural Water District Number Three Project

Russell Rural Water District Number Three in Susank has been in operation since 1973 and was initially engineered to provide consistent, quality water to the few customers in the rural areas it services.

According to District Manager Jamie Tomlinson, the water district has grown several times from the initial customers that it was engineered to serve. In the past eight years, the operators and managers have documented the high water loss the district has encountered. The makeup of the type of the materials in the ground that the old line is laid in is not universal. The ground varies from soft dirt to complete rock. There are areas the water line is trenched in the actual rock shelf itself. With that being as it is, the district has been given the opportunity through assistance of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. This opportunity is giving Russell Rural Water District Number Three the ability to improve the growing need for adequate and reliable water to its customers.

In doing so, the RWD has signed from the USDA a loan/grant of $12.2 million to help with these improvements. The current distance of lines is 275 miles and the district stretches into four counties. It is located in southern Russell, northern Barton, eastern Rush and has two meters in Ellis County. According to Tomlinson, the project is laid out to abandon 115 miles of PVC material lines and will be putting in new high-density polyethylene or what is referred to as HDPE or poly. This material is much thicker and has more elasticity or movement than PVC. The pipe is also fused together with heat and pressure creating a seamless pipe throughout the new miles of line. Along with the new lines, the district will be able to remove all seven of the old above ground water storage tanks. They will be replacing that volume that was there and increase the above ground volume to almost four times as much by adding a new 130-foot water tower and a new 130-foot standpipe. They will be adding the City of Odin to the water district as well as taking over the City of Susank that they currently bulk sell water to.

The last additional part to the district's upgrade is the technology part. RWD Number Three will be upgrading its telemetry monitoring system and installing all new residential water meters. These meters are the newest in the industry and made without any moving parts to measure the amount of water the customer is using. Neptune™ has developed its industry standard Mach 10 meter. The Mach 10 meter they will be installing is an ultra-sonic meter that can read up to .001 of a gallon four times in one second. What this means is the water district can capture more of the water usage and potential loss of water faster and more accurately. With these new meters, they will have the ability to read usages at 15 minute intervals and have those readings sent directly to the office or read the meters remotely. This means they can detect over usages or leaks in customers lines if caught.

One of the biggest issues with this project is the unfortunate intermittent and possible high frequency of water outages that customers will face in the next 18 months said Tomlinson. The hard part is knowing where the old lines are and trying to lay next to them. The old maps they have do not necessarily give exact locations where they are. Since they began the project in the first part of September the southern part of Russell County has experienced this the most so far. The contractors have hit the lines between eight and 10 times and are working south toward Barton County. Though it will be a long haul, Tomlinson believes all customers will be very happy with the results.

(Information and photo courtesy Russell Rural Water District Number Three.)