When you open the tap on the kitchen sink, you expect to be able to fill your empty glass with cool, refreshing, clean water. Few of us give much thought to where that water came from or how it got there.
Thankfully, water districts and municipalities pay close attention to the details so the consumer doesn’t have to, and one of those details is making sure there’s enough water for all of the consumers, both present and future. In 2014, the city of Springfield, Tennessee, completed a study that showed their water supply was insufficient for future growth and was vulnerable to interruptions due to the plant’s distance from the city; longer transmission lines from the plant to the city meant more chances for breaks.
Springfield, sitting just across Kentucky’s southern border in northern Tennessee, struck a deal with Logan-Todd Regional Water Commission to supplement its current water supply with treated water from Logan-Todd’s plant in Guthrie, Kentucky.
With a solid plan in place and a real rural America neighbor-helping-neighbor philosophy, Logan-Todd worked with Rural Development in both Kentucky and Tennessee in 2015 on a low-interest loan to finance the construction of about 20 miles of transmission line, a 2-million gallon storage tank, and a booster pump station.
“Our partners never disappoint when they’re given the chance to excel,” said Rural Development Kentucky State Director Hilda Legg. “I’m excited Kentucky and Tennessee can work together on a project that also brings together communities and resources. This truly embodies our motto of together, America prospers.”
Planning, design, permitting and right-of-way acquisition took up 2015 through 2017. Bids were received in the summer of 2018, and construction was substantially complete in the spring 2020, with the system placed fully in service on April 13.
“Springfield and Logan-Todd management both anticipated starting slow for the first week of operation and get a feel for how the system would operate,” said Kyle Kenner, system manager for Logan-Todd.
They did start slow, for that first day. But the very next day, Springfield suffered a major break in the transmission line from their water plant, which required extensive repairs that would take days to fix.
“So we cranked up and started sending around 5.5 [million gallons per day],” said Kenner. “We were pleased everything ran as it was designed and we were able to supply their entire system until they could make necessary repairs to get their plant going.”
Talk about serendipitous timing; if that break had happened days before, Springfield would have likely been without water for days while the transmission line was being repaired.
A project of this size is not done in a vacuum and can be derailed by boundaries. Kenner is quick to point that out how much it took for those boundaries to disappear and make the project a reality.
“This project required many partners from Federal, two states, four cities, and many others to complete,” he said. “It has proven early on that our partnership with the City of Springfield was the right thing to do.”