Bethel water demands grow

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

As the Bethel Water System has doubled its customer base during the past 10 years from 600 to 1,200 customers, the non-profit water authority has had to impose monthly fees.

According to Wesley Waites, manager of the Bethel Water System, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) required the water board in 2000 to install a water tank and upgrade water lines when its customer base reached 1,000.

Currently, a 500,000-gallon water tank is under construction.

Once that tank is in operation, the growing water system will probably already need another tank, Waites said.

Following ADEM’s ruling, Waites said the water board borrowed $1.1 million for the tank and line upgrades.

A $4 monthly fee goes toward the 20-year bank loan, he said.

The $4 fee will likely continue for customers for 20 years, Waites said.

While customers pay an extra $4 a month for upgrades and water tank construction, some have lodged complaints that the water tank stands empty and out of use.

According to Waites, problems with construction of the water tank have prevented it from coming into use.

He said the tank, currently housed off of Shelby County Road 7 in Wilsonville, is being sandblasted and welded on the inside.

Waites said the tank was supposed to be completed, but there were problems with the paint and the welding on the inside.

The Bethel Water System is currently involved in court litigation with the private company hired to build the water tank, Waites said.

&uot;That’s one of the hold-ups,&uot; Waites said of the stalled water tank.

The Bethel Water System, which began more than 30 years ago, serves rural customers between Wilsonville and Columbiana and purchases its water from the Columbiana Water Board, Waites said.