The performance of North Augusta's water system was more than adequate during last summer's drought, but officials have unveiled plans to increase capacity from 8 million gallons per day to 14 million.
"The drought pushed the system but the recent weather has had no influence on our decision to expand the system," City Administrator Charles Martin said.
It has been in the planning for about a year and a half, he said.
Still, the water system pumped as much as 7.5 million gallons at its peak last summer and nearly 7 million gallons several times during the six-week heat wave.
Although contingency plans to restrict consumption were drawn up, the city did not impose them.
Expansion plans include construction of a new pumping station and a concrete intake structure that rises about 30 feet high and extends about 60 feet into the Savannah River, the city's source for raw water.
"The Savannah River has no really defined channel and the structure for the intake of raw water must extend beyond the weed line," said Tim Schumpert, consulting engineer for B.P. Barber & Associates of Columbia, project designer.
"It will probably extend about 10-15 feet further into the river than the boat ramp," located just downriver from the water plant, Mr. Schumpert said.
The structure will rise above the water line, making a series of buoys and lights necessary for water safety, Mr. Schumpert said.
The expansion will also include an additional clearwell, a new rapid mix facility for chemicals, and a control building "that houses a state-of-the-art laboratory," chief engineer John Peake told the North Augusta City Council during a study session Monday night.
The additional 6 million gallons of capacity will probably serve the city well into the second decade of the next century. At that time, projections indicate another 6 million gallons per day may be needed.
Barber & Associates has completed an analysis of the city's water distribution system, with a computer model of the system.
"The model allows us to develop a `what if' scenario," Mr. Martin said, "and it can also be used almost as a daily work tool."
When it is installed, it will simulate the actual performance of the water system and contain data to predict system needs.
Presently, water consumption in North Augusta averages 4.145 million gallons a day, according to an analysis by Barber's Joey Jaco. By 2005, Mr. Jaco projects that the city will average 6.33 million gallons a day and 8.49 million gallons daily by 2010.
Pending permits being approved by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, requests for proposals will go out by the end of the month and construction is expected to begin in June with completion in January 2001.