Emergency water line to link Cape, Jackson

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Should a disaster destroy a water plant, the other city would be able to provide emergency water.

Cape Girardeau and Jackson share many things.

They share the same county, the same industrial recruiter and the same interstate.

Soon, both cities will have the ability to share water too.

The city of Cape Girardeau landed a State Emergency Management Agency grant for $66,000 to connect the cities' water supplies in the event of an emergency. The grant is enough to cover 75 percent of the project's cost.

Should an earthquake or tornado take out one of the water plants, the other city could provide emergency water.

Both cities have talked about the connection for at least seven years, said Jackson fire chief Brad Golden. Every year, the topic is mentioned at the cities' joint council meeting.

According to SEMA spokeswoman Susie Stonner, the state agency makes funding available if emergency funds are left over after the president declares a disaster. Such was the case, for example, after the 2003 tornado in Jackson. Stonner said SEMA grouped together the funds available after recent disasters and made them available for emergency preparation efforts, such as the water connection.

Kevin Priester, the water system manager for Alliance Resources, Cape Girardeau's water plant, said it hasn't yet been determined exactly how much water one city will be able to provide the other in a pinch.

"This is still fairly preliminary as far as working out the details," Priester said. "That is the first thing we'll do once we get the paperwork signed. It will never be the case where Jackson could supply Cape all of its water needs or the other way around."

Golden said both cities will also have to come up with specific scenarios to define the how and when the water line would be opened.

The eight-inch line will be about 4,500 feet long. It will connect both water systems not far from Crystal Springs subdivision off the outer road near Center Junction, where Interstate 55 and Highway 61 meet.

Work will likely begin late this fall, Priester said.

The $66,000 will take care of the materials. Both cities' water departments will install the pipe as part of a 25 percent in-kind local match.

bmiller@semissourian.com

243-6635

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