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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Rocky Mount water plant to close June 12 for electrical upgrade
Voluntary conservation requested during upgrade window
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Courtesy Photo: Doug Sprouse with Varney Electric examines the new equipment for the electrical upgrade to the town’s water treatment plant.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Town of Rocky Mount will close its Blackwater River water treatment plant for the first phase of a long-needed electrical upgrade on Wednesday, June 12.

The plant's production will completely stop for an expected 24 hours to accommodate the switching of electrical components, motors and wiring in the 32-year-old plant, according to Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins.

Customers should see no difference in their service during the plant closure, the first of two planned in the coming weeks, Hankins said.

The new electrical system and motors will reduce the town's electricity demand, lowering water production costs while improving the plant's reliability and systems, he added. Varney Electric of Roanoke is the contractor for the project and will have multiple crews on site until the project is completed and the new systems are operating reliably.

"This is the first major upgrade of our electrical components since the plant was finished in 1981, and we look forward to reducing our electric bill," said Bob Deitrich, the town's water plant superintendent. "With town council's commitment to fund these improvements, we will ensure the town's water plant remains dependable and consistent even as the plant ages."

The town water department will fill all water tanks to capacity by 7 a.m. on June 12. The town has over 2 million gallons of water storage capacity, and typical use is approximately 900,000 gallons per day, Hankins said. The town should have more-than-adequate capacity to supply water during the shutdown, but contingency plans are in place to haul large quantities of water into the town system should the shutdown last longer than the contractor anticipates.

June 12 is a half-day of school, the last of the school year for Franklin County public schools. Reduced school hours mean significantly lower water consumption for the town system, which will help lower water demand during the electrical upgrade, Hankins said.

"This necessary project should pose no inconvenience or threat to our residents, industries and water users," Hankins said. "The planning for this project and the resources being devoted to its successful completion should mean smooth, seamless service for our residents."

Town crews will monitor the water levels throughout the project and will give as much notice to residents as possible in the event of any delay or problem.

In order to help the town complete the upgrade, water customers, industries and residents are asked to take note and act on the following:

•Conserve water voluntarily from 7 a.m. Wednesday, June 12 through 7 a.m. Thursday, June 13.

•Keep from burning anything outdoors for the duration of the voluntary conservation period in an effort to reduce fire risk.

•Monitor local television, radio and online media for updates on the upgrade. The town will also update the media on the situation as warranted and post news on its website ( and at the town Facebook page.

•If anyone notices significant loss of pressure, complete loss of water, a significant and unusual use of water or a water line break during this time, please contact the town manager's office immediately at 540-483-7660.

"The town thanks its residents and water customers for their cooperation," Hankins added.

Partners providing assistance in this project include Varney Electric, Franklin County Building Inspectors Office, Appalachian Power, Franklin County Public Safety and the Rocky Mount Fire and Police departments.

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