Cleveland Utilities launches 2 water projects

Cleveland Utilities launches 2 water projects

November 4th, 2011 by By Paul Leach/Correspondent in News

The Cleveland Utilities headquarters is in Cleveland, Tenn.

The Cleveland Utilities headquarters is in Cleveland, Tenn.

Photo by Harrison Keely /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland Utilities plans to launch a couple of projects aimed at prolonging the life of key elements in its water intake system while saving more than $400,000.

In a recent meeting, the utility board approved funding requests of $225,545 to rehabilitate filter screens at the raw water intake station on the Hiwassee River and to recoat the interior of the structure with epoxy paint.

The Underwater Construction Corp. will handle repairs and replacements for the traveling and filter screens, which sort out leaves and other debris from the raw water, according to Cleveland Utilities General Manager Tom Wheeler.

The specialty contractor was described as "a good firm" that has had plenty of experience working assignments for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Wheeler said.

The rehabilitation project amounts to $152,076 and is expected to give the filter screens another 10 years of service, he said.

"We put down 10 years, but it could approach 20 years with our rehab," Wheeler said. "It sounded like a good deal to save some money."

Cleveland Utilities previously had budgeted $581,000 to install all-new screens. Wheeler told the utility board that a new screen filter system has a lifespan of about 30 years.

The filter screen rehabilitation work does not have a firm start date, according to a recent email from Craig Mullinax, water division manager for Cleveland Utilities.

Wheeler said the water station epoxy paint project will cost $73,469.

The interior of the water intake structure at the Hiwassee River station requires a new epoxy paint job on its floors, fittings and all other equipment, he said.

"We've known this has been needed for several years, and we keep putting it off," Wheeler said. "It's time to do it."

The repainting project is coming in 26 percent under its $100,000 budget and was awarded to K. Berry Construction of Knoxville.

The project is expected to start in about a month, according to Mullinax.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at