Stillwater News Press

February 10, 2013

Water pressure upgrades on the way in Stillwater

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Water pressure upgrades are coming to southwest Stillwater in 2014.

At least, that’s when construction is expected to start on the first phase of a plan to alleviate low water pressure in neighborhoods south of West Sixth Avenue and west of Western Avenue, Stillwater Utility Construction Program Manager Eric Fladie said.

“We will start work in 2014,” he said.

Phase one includes a new booster pump station at State Highway 51 and Country Club Road. A new pipeline will connect the booster pump to the Range Road water tower. Another booster pump will be installed at Range Road tower, and a new water tower on 44th Street.

Last week, Stillwater Utility Authority Trustees told project manager/designer CH2M Hill to start designing and managing phases two and three.

The Trustees amended CH2M Hill’s contract. The company will be paid $4.039 million for designing and managing phases two and three. It was already scheduled to receive approximately $4.5 million to provide those services for phase one.

The professional services fee doesn’t include construction or securing land for utility easements to install pipelines and booster stations. Total cost for the water projects is estimated at $60 million. They will ensure southwest Stillwater has adequate water pressure for the next 20 years.

Stillwater Utility Authority has slightly less than $7 million in a water capital fund. The money was generated by higher water rates, Director Dan Blankenship said. The Authority will spend the money in the construction fund first. Eventually, it will seek a revenue bond to pay for the upgrades and replenish the water capital fund, Blankenship said.

“Obviously, a $60 million project, we don’t have the cash sitting in the bank to pay for this. Our plan is to finance the services and construction with a revenue bond. The debt would be retired by revenues that are generated through water rates over a number of years,” Blankenship said.

CH2M Hill won’t receive the $8.5 million in a lump sum. The company will be paid for services as they are ordered. This frees up money for other water projects in the city, and doesn’t require the SUA to immediately seek a revenue bond, Blankenship said.

“It basically maximizes the use of the money we have. We could go out right now and get the full financing for the package, but we don’t think that’s the most cost-effective approach. We want to balance our cash and our financing.

“It’s a balancing act, but it’s the most cost-effective approach,” Blankenship said.