$4 million in Water Dept. construction ready to go

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Department of Water on Wednesday announced the initiation of construction for three projects that are part of its $100 million Water Plan 2020.

The three projects — encompassing ‘Ele‘ele, Waimea and Wainiha water systems — represent nearly $4 million in renovations, rehabilitation and new construction to upgrade Kaua‘i’s water systems, county officials said.

The ‘Ele‘ele project involves rehabilitation of the twin steel tanks along Kaumuali‘i Highway, including painting, new fencing, asphalt, a retaining wall, landscaping, relocation of a reservoir overflow line and the replacement and installation of various valves. DOW contracted the work to Oceanic Companies.

“Water quality is already good over there, but the project will give more life to the existing tanks by fixing it before it degrades,” DOW Water Works Projects Manager Dustin Moises said.

The ‘Ele‘ele steel tanks are under construction and completion is estimated for early 2012.

The Waimea wells project involves renovations consisting of the replacement of a turbine pump and a disinfection system with all other appurtenant work required to provide a completely operational system. The work will be performed by R. Electric and completion is scheduled for late 2011.

“This project will make (the wells) more efficient,” Moises said. “Over time, we’ll lose efficiency, so we took a proactive approach by replacing them now.”

The work in Wainiha, which is in the permitting stage, includes construction of a new Wainiha booster pump station, the creation of an access road from the booster pump to the Ha‘ena steel tank, a retaining wall and the relocation of electrical and control systems.

“Wainiha is similar in the sense that the booster pump will get renovated and operate in a more efficient manner and help reduce outages,” Moises said. 

The scope of the work at the Ha‘ena steel tank facility includes site clearing, a perimeter road, concrete swale and a concrete wall. Unlimited Builders will perform the work. (The Ha‘ena facility is part of the Wainiha project.)

“All of our projects are 360-day contracts,” Moises said. “The Wainiha was bidded, but it is still in the permitting stage now. Estimated completion is late 2012.”

Water outages during construction are not anticipated but should be expected, he said. Notices will be issued if DOW must interrupt services.

“On these rehabilitation projects, people usually notice nothing, but that’s good for us,” Moises said, “because when people notice something it’s usually because it broke.” Although the announcement Wednesday included just three projects, Moises emphasized the DOW has completed $35 million in projects over the last year, more than half of which was pipeline replacement. He said pipeline replacement takes priority because it is the primary cause of outages.

The department spends about $10 million a year on different projects, on average, DOW Public Relations Specialist Faith Shiramizu said.

Funding for the plan is through Build America Bonds.

“We pulled a $60 million bond with the County of Kaua‘i in March of 2010,” Moises said, “and that bond is funding these projects.”

In addition to upgrading old infrastructure, Shiramizu said the projects create local jobs and help boost the local economy.

Water Plan 2020 was developed by DOW in 2001 as a comprehensive, long-range plan to ensure safe, affordable and sufficient drinking water in the 21st century, a county news release states.

Although the water plan has 2020 in its name, Moises said it would not be realistic to complete all of the projects by that year.

The plan is a review of existing facilities and service standards and provides an outline for new and replacement facilities, a capital improvement program, a financial plan and a rate study. An updated rate study is currently under way.

The department monitors, operates and maintains 51 wells, 60 tanks, two tunnels, 19 booster pump stations and 75 control valve stations as well as over 400 miles of pipeline to some 20,000 customers.

• Vanessa Van Voorhis, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or by emailing vvanvoorhis@thegardenisland.com.

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