Boone, Blowing Rock officially open water interconnection

Article Published: Oct. 27, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 27, 2011
Boone, Blowing Rock officially open water interconnection

During Oct. 21's 'Turning of the Valve' event, from left, Blowing Rock mayor J.B. Lawrence, NCDENR secretary Dee Freeman and Boone mayor Loretta Clawson ceremoniously open the valves connecting the two towns' water supplies.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Twenty years ago, the town of Blowing Rock first began looking for a long-term solution to its water shortage due to drought. Last week, that solution became a reality.

On Friday, Oct. 21, officials from Boone, Blowing Rock and the State of North Carolina met with members of the public on U.S. 321, across the highway from the entrance to Tweetsie Railroad. During a short “Turning of the Valve” ceremony, two valves were turned and the Boone/Blowing Rock water interconnection was officially dedicated.

The Boone/Blowing Rock water interconnection is a series of pipes connecting the two town’s water supplies. The interconnection also connects those two water supplies with Appalachian State University’s water supply. The interconnection will allow the three entities to help each other during times of drought or contamination, and will allow all three to do work on their reservoirs or water stations from time to time without disrupting customer service.

Blowing Rock mayor J.B. Lawrence, Boone mayor Loretta Clawson and N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Secretary Dee Freeman ceremoniously turned two large valves connecting the two town’s water supplies.

Other officials present at the ceremony were Blowing Rock town council members Tommy Klutz, Jim Steele, Doug Matheson, Albert Yount and Phillip Pickett, Blowing Rock’s town manager Scott Hildebran and town planner Kevin Rothrock, N.C. Rep. Jonathan Jordon and Appalachian State University chancellor Ken Peacock.

The water interconnection project received funding from a variety of sources, including a State of North Carolina (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) grant ($756,480.06), the Appalachian Regional Commission (USDA) ($202,186.69), the N.C. Rural Center (Boone - $673,955.86; Watauga County - $49,562.72), plus a 0 percent interest loan from the State of North Carolina (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - $756.480.06).

Construction on the project began in March 2010 and was completed in July of 2011. The engineer was McGill Associates, and the general contractor was Ronny Turner Construction Company.

The interconnect project, on the Blowing Rock side, included five miles of 12-inch diameter water lines, a 700 gallon-per-minute water booster pump station, and a series of meters and control valves. The overall cost of the project was $,775,642 and came in on time and under budget.

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