NCWSA reviewing communication system update project

COVINGTON — Newton County Water and Sewer Authority plans to review the Newton County Board of Commissioners and Covington City Council’s request to fund the main water communication system project.

NCWSA Director Mike Hopkins said the board wants the communication system to be in compliance with the Federal Communications Commission, but is taking another glance at what the project will include.

In May, Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said the total project could cost between $483,000 and $700,000 and a collaborative funding effort is needed in order to replace the system. The City Council agreed to chip in and pay one-third of the project, but only if it was supported by the BOC and NCWSA.

The Newton BOC is set to discuss the project again at today’s meeting. Their decision was tabled in May in order to see what the NCWSA board would do.

“The board asked us to work hard to find out how we can become FCC compliant, but also look at our resources and adhere to good physical policy,” Hopkins said. “After we review the project I’m sure we’ll return to the Board of Commissioners within a couple of months to discuss updating the system.”

The SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system helps control the various water levels in the tanks and also determines when to boost pumps or cut off water supply. However, the system is out of date and parts can no longer be purchased.

Assistant County Manager Tom Garrett described the system as the eyes and ears for controls of tank levels, pumps, pressure ratings and much more. It helps get a snapshot of what’s going on in real time, but also tracks information over time to see how flows and pressures are doing to help moderate those levels.

The city, county and NCWSA started discussing the upgrades two years ago but couldn’t reach an agreement as to who would bear the costs. Once the NCWSA reviews the project, the discussions as to who will bear the cost will continue.