Weatherford Democrat

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May 1, 2014

What to do?

Municipal board weighs options on former Weatherford power plant

By BRIAN SMITH

A question of what to do with the former Weatherford power plant was discussed by Municipal Utility Board members at their Thursday meeting.

Director of Electric Utilities Joe Farley told members the plant was finished in 1940 and expanded over the years before going idle in 1981. Farley said one of the generators has been sold and the other seven have been upgraded.

The plant is operational but, at full capacity, can only produce about five megawatts a day, far below the estimated 100 megawatts the city would need at its peak, Farley said. Three options were given on what to do with the plant: bring it back online, decommission the plant entirely or keep things the way they are.

Farley said approximately $5,000 a year is spent to maintain the plant. To bring the plant emissions up to standard would cost anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000.

Decommissioning could be expensive as well with suggestions from the board to see what the salvage value would be.

Board member Howard McClurkin asked if there were any health concerns in the building and was told by Assistant City Manager Sharon Hayes all the asbestos in the facility was removed more than 20 years ago.

Costs of all three options were scheduled to be brought back at a future meeting.

Board members also approved the bid of PC Contractors for replacing about 3,700 linear feet of pipe on Black Warrior Creek. Phase one of the 8,700 linear foot project will cut across the Weatherford Ninth Grade Center and be complete some time this summer.

Director of Wastewater Utilities James Hotopp gave board members an update on Lake Weatherford. He said the city is still under Stage 1 water restrictions, allowing for twice a week watering. The lake level has risen to 889.35 feet, up more than half a foot over this time last year, despite getting less than half the rain the city had received to this point in 2013.

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