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

Rocky Mount water plant to close Wednesday
Voluntary conservation requested during electrical upgrade
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Matt Hankins

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Town of Rocky Mount will close its Blackwater River water treatment plant for the second time this summer to complete a major overhaul of the plant's electrical systems and pump motors.

The town's contractor finished the first phase of the long-needed electrical upgrade June 12, according to Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins.

The second and final closure is set for Wednesday, Aug. 7, beginning at 7 a.m. and will last until work is complete, possibly as much as 24 hours.

Customers should see no difference in their service during the plant closure, Hankins said. But the town asks water consumers to be mindful of water use Wednesday, conserving as much as possible.

The town typically has at least two days of water in storage tanks, and a single-day outage should not create any hazards for customers, 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.

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, Hankins said.

"We have worked all summer to prepare for and complete these critical upgrades," said Bob Deitrich, the town's water plant superintendent. "The work is necessary to bring the water plant current on technology and energy use. It is complex work, and our contractor has been very helpful in bringing the project to its conclusion."

The town water department will fill all water tanks to capacity by 7 a.m. on Aug. 7. 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, Hankins said.

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, Aug. 7 through 7 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8.

•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, contact the town manager's office immediately at 540-483-7660.

The town appreciates the cooperation of residents and water customers, Hankins said, as well as assistance from 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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