A project to extend water and sewer service to the Brookings Airport and increase water storage is nearing completion with the new 500,000 gallon water storage tank now in service.
“This project will not only improve water service availability to the Airport and nearby properties, but will enhance many other aspects of the City’s water system,” City Manager Gary Milliman said.
“Further development of the Airport could not proceed without this project,” Milliman said. “Water pressure prior to this project did not meet minimum standards. The Airport also now has fire hydrants for the first time,” Milliman noted.
The new 500,000 gallon tank “makes up” the deficit in water storage when the City had to scale back the size of the Seacrest tank when it was constructed in 2007. At that time, the Seacrest tank was sized at a 2.0 million gallon capacity, but had to be reduced in size to 1.6 million gallons due to site restrictions.
With the new tank, the City overall storage capacity is now 3.8 million gallons, more than doubling the City’s storage capacity from just nine years ago.
“Storage capacity is important to the entire community in the event of a major fire or disaster,” Milliman said. “It is also a major element considered when Insurance Service O establishes a fire rating for the community, which impacts everyone’s fire insurance premiums.”
Work at the tank site last week included installing bollards and security fencing, grading the road and ditches. The 75,000 gallon tank on Vista Ridge has been taken out of service; it is no longer needed. New pressure reducing valves (PRV) are in service at Vista Ridge and E. Harris Heights. The Dodge #1 and E. Harris Heights pump stations have been taken out of service as they are also no longer needed.
Other related work included installing a cyclone fence on top of the retaining wall at the new Seacrest pump station. Part of the project was to interconnect the Seacrest tank with the new tank.
“We still have some finish work to do to wrap up the project, including a short section of pipeline that needs realignment, but the water part of the project is now in operation,” Milliman said.
A sewer line extension was also a part of the infrastructure project. “A lift station will need to be installed at the Airport before anyone can actually connect into sewer service,” Milliman said. “This would be the responsibility of the property owner.”
The $2.8 million project was jointly funded by the City of Brookings and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, with the City contributed $1.1 million.
The Brookings Airport has been without water service for the past nine months. The Airport was served with a one-inch service connection near the intersection of Dodge Avenue and Parkview Drive, but service was shut-off by the County because they could not determine the location of a suspected leak that was resulting in extraordinarily high water use.
“The Airport is owned by Curry County and the distribution system within the Airport is old,” Milliman said. “County staff was unable to determine the reason for the high water use, and it is suspected that there is a leak under the runway.”
The new water line now makes service available about 100 feet from the airport office building.
“A new service connection that would bypass the existing line may resolve the problem, but we are just not sure,” Milliman said. “The problem may be elsewhere in the internal distribution system.”
Milliman said that questions about restoring water service to the Airport should be directed to Curry County Commissioner Tom Huxley.
One “side benefit” of the project has been delayed, Milliman noted. Part of the project was to replace three water pump stations with pressure reducing values. “Unfortunately, the existing four-inch water main on Dodge Avenue could not sustain the higher pressures when we activated the new system,” Milliman said. “Ultimately, this main will need to be replaced. For now, this older pump station will remain in operation. This has no significant impact on the overall project.”