Crews from Athens Utilities Board (AUB) and a contractor this week will change out two valves on a sixteen-inch water transmission line owned by Hiwassee Utilities Commission (HUC) that runs through McMinn County.
AUB purchases treated water from HUC to supplement the AUB water supply in McMinn County and serves as the maintenance contractor for the HUC line on points north of the Hiwassee River.
There is a series of valves on the line between HUC's plant in Charleston and AUB's system. As the valves near the end of their useful lives, AUB works with HUC to identify any that need to be replaced.
On Tuesday, June 26, AUB will shut off the HUC feed well before dawn, and a contractor will begin work to replace two valves on the line, one near Riceville and another in Calhoun.
AUB crews will then flush sediment and air from the line and sample the water as required. Crews will leave the HUC line "off" overnight, not moving water into the AUB service area, allowing any remaining sediment to settle.
"This step of allowing the line to remain dormant overnight is a slightly different approach compared to last time," said AUB's Craig Brymer, who heads up the water and wastewater divisions.
When AUB replaced valves on the HUC line last April a few AUB customers reported sediment and entrained air in their water.
On Wednesday morning, AUB crews will open a valve to re-charge the HUC line, flushing air and water from discharge ports as they open the valve to allow water to flow north into AUB's system.
"We are trying our best to avoid any water quality issues this time, but the possibility remains that some customers could see some discolored water. Unfortunately, that is part and parcel of this type of maintenance work," he said.
If you do experience sediment or entrained air, which gives the water a milky appearance, AUB suggests simply allowing the water to flow until it clears.
During the valve replacement work, AUB will supply local water customers solely via the utility's water filter plant on Hwy. 305.