A water leak detection program initiated this year with funding from SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), the penny sales tax passed in 2010, is estimated to save more than 200,000 gallons every day and capture approximately $230,000 in lost water each year.
Rockdale Water Resources Operations Manager Richard McDaniel told the Citizens' SPLOST Oversight Committee this week that his department has surveyed 49 percent, or 64.5 square miles, of the county since January to identify and repair leaks. Funded by the SPLOST, the $250,000 leak detection system utilizes technology to locate underground leaks.
"This is a vital part of the water conservation program," McDaniel told the committee Monday. "We want to find these leaks when they are very small." The system is capable of pinpointing a leak location within a few inches and then confirmation is made by utilizing acoustic microphones to verify the position of the leak.
McDaniel said 41 leaks have been detected and repaired within the 64.5 square miles already surveyed, which lie in the northern part of the county. It is estimated that between 73 million and 90 million gallons of water will be saved each year after the entire county is surveyed and leaks are repaired. Rockdale County's 130.7 square miles has 600 miles of water main pipes, 26,000 water meters and 5,300 fire hydrants, all of which will be inspected with a hand-held leak detection device.
On average, approximately 10,600,000 gallons of water is produced by Rockdale Water Resources every day, according to McDaniel. He said utility systems will never completely eliminate 100 percent of the leaks, but Rockdale is aiming to be closer to the industry standard of 10 to 20 percent leakage.
Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Southside Precinct
Other discussions pertaining to the managment of SPLOST funds included an update on the Rockdale County Sheriff's Department's South Precinct, which will be completed in November.
Located next to the Honey Creek Village Shopping Center, near the intersection of Honey Creek and Ga. Highway 20, the project utilized $989,292 in SPLOST funding designated for the Sheriff's Department to renovate an existing building that was formerly a liquor store.
In addition, the oversight committee approved funding in the amount of $179,000 for improvements at Black Shoals Park, which will include adding sidewalks, making improvements to the dock, increasing signage, installing a security gate and enhancing the parking lot and roads.