The grass along Eubank Drive is neatly cut back and is lined with orange paint and little orange flags.
Oscar Taylor, the chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Columbia County, said he was excited to see water pipes near his Eubank Drive home. The tap fee for service is $500 through November.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Earth-moving equipment sits at intervals along the road in Appling, which is more than 1 mile long.
Oscar Taylor said he was excited to see the backhoe parked in front of his Eubank Drive home because it means water is coming.
Those orange markers note the place where Columbia County water lines soon will be buried to service the 58 residents on that road and those residents on connected Adelia and Suan drives using well water.
"It may be another year before they get it all in, but I saw some pipes laying on my street and that made me feel pretty good," said Taylor, the chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Columbia County.
Billy Clayton, the director of the county's Water and Sewer Division, said that laying water lines on Taylor's road should take only 90 days and is slated to be completed by the end of the year.
Water pipes also will go into the ground on more than four miles of Wrightsboro Road from Bessie Thomas Community Center to Pumpkin Center, Powell Church Road and Old Appling Highway, Clayton said, adding that the project will take approximately six months once construction begins.
"It opens up and made water available to folks that don't have it," Clayton said. "... A good water source is not a luxury, but one of the necessities in life."
The projects, totaling about $1 million, are funded by sales tax revenue, and it's money that was needed to get the lines to rural areas.
District 3 Commissioner Diane Ford has represented much of the Appling and Winfield areas for her 12 years on the commission and has joined with active groups such as the Concerned Citizens to get water to those areas.
"It's like you wondered if it was ever going to happen," Ford said. "The funds showed up and here they are. I'm just tickled pink and I know they are, too."
Taylor is urging residents in both of the areas to take their notification letter and $500 tap fee to the water department to receive the discounted price, which is much lower than the thousands of dollars that was discussed in years past for residents to tie into the system.
"It's a special rate and it's only good until the end of November," Clayton said. "Basically, we call it a pre-construction tap fee. To have a contractor get that done is cheaper than sending out the crews later."
Taylor said the tap fee is worth what he gets by joining the county's water system. He said he can avoid the expense and time of maintaining his own well and can enjoy higher water pressure.
The water line extensions are not just good for residents but also for the water system. The extension creates loops in the system, which allow water to keep flowing, help avoid dead-end lines and open new territory for future expansion of the system, Clayton said.
"Loops increase the flows, pressures and reliability of the system," Clayton said.
When additional funding becomes available, Ford said, she and Anderson can easily put it to use.
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