The Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority agreed unanimously Aug. 28 to spend $521,810 on three drives to provide water to its customers.

The UOBWA met in a called session, the only one members could recall in several years.

Oconee and Barrow counties, which share a water line from the treatment plant, would divide $175,625 of the cost. The cost of the third VFD would be divided among the counties.

Jackson County, the largest partner in the UOBWA, would pay for its pump, a 600-horsepower. That cost is $175,625.

The three drives are among eight that are used in the UOBWA system. To replace all eight of the variable frequency drives for controlling pumping speeds in the system would cost about $1.26 million.

They serve the water needs of Jackson, Oconee and Barrow counties and to pull water from the Bear Creek Reservoir for the water plant.

The cost would be divided among the three counties. Athens-Clarke County, the fourth county in the UOBWA group, would not receive benefits from the refurbished items and would not pay toward those costs.

The called meeting was held to provide adequate time for ordering parts and installing the refurbished drives, Joey Leslie, head of the group’s engineering committee, said.

Brad Lanning, Jacobs Engineering manager for the UOBWA, said refurbishment of each drive is a minimum of 18 weeks. He said the work could start in December and would be done one at a time, allowing for off-peak season completion.

He also said redoing the three now would provide spare parts for the other drives. The eight VFDs in service are the original drives. A memo from Lanning said the drives “have reached obsolescence.

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