This story was also featured on Water Online.
This is a story about three cities in North Carolina: Albemarle, Concord and Kannapolis. Albemarle, 40 miles east of Charlotte, had excess capacity in its water system and needed new customers to defray costs. Concord and Kannapolis, within shouting distance of Albemarle, needed a new source of supply but were stymied by the cost of enhancing their systems independently.
From that dilemma, the three cities came together and worked to build a $21-million, 18-mile water transmission main that created a win-win-win situation. Work on the Albemarle Water Transmission Main, scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015, not only meets the needs of each municipality but also will help position the area for economic development opportunities in the wake of the textile industry’s decline.
The story also involves AMERICAN products, which were used to build the new water transmission main. Through its local distributor Ferguson Waterworks, AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe supplied 95,000 feet of Fastite and Flex-Ring pipe — 85,000 feet in 30-inch diameter and 10,000 feet in 24-inch. AMERICAN Flow Control supplied 30 Series 2500 resilient wedge gate valves in 30-inch diameter with bevel gearing.
“This project represents an investment in the future for Concord, Kannapolis and Albemarle and Cabarrus County,” said Christie Putnam, director of Water Resources in Concord. “This level of commitment requires infrastructure that has proven reliability and sustainability, and that led us to ductile iron pipe being the clear choice for this application. AMERICAN has more than 100 years of experience and expertise manufacturing iron pipe. That combined with the experience of AFC valves gives us confidence that we are ensuring a long-term, reliable water supply that will benefit our customers and the citizens of these communities for years to come.”
“This level of commitment requires infrastructure that has proven reliability and sustainability, and that led us to ductile iron pipe being the clear choice for this application.”
Given the large volume of pipe to be installed, the project was split into six different assembly areas, or alignments, each with its own laying schedule. “To facilitate installation, AMERICAN marked each pipe at the factory with a pinpoint delivery location corresponding to a respective alignment,” said Jake Lane, a sales representative with Ferguson Waterworks.
“It’s similar to putting together a puzzle,” Lane said. “With multiple alignments taking delivery in the same week, this (system) makes it extremely easy to see the pipe labeled with “A” mark numbers and knowing that pipe is meant for Alignment A and so on. This marking process has made the shipping and billing work pretty seamlessly.”
The Raleigh, North Carolina, branch of DeVere Construction was the contractor for the Albemarle project. According to DeVere Utility Manager Dalton Walker, the contractor’s biggest challenge was dealing with 45,000 cubic yards of rock instead of the 23,000 it had anticipated.
But the sting of that surprise was eased by the use of AMERICAN products. In addition to excellent quality, “AMERICAN products are easy to install, and the materials were onsite as planned and needed,” Walker said. “AMERICAN personnel also provided support throughout the project. They began working with us the day after the project was bid, and their Customer Service employees worked through numerous plan changes at the start of the project.”
The water arrangement provided by the new transmission main will help the entire area, which lies northeast of Charlotte near the South Carolina border. During a recent drought, for example, Kannapolis and Concord both had to rely on connections to other systems to ensure adequate water supply — Concord with Charlotte and Kannapolis with Salisbury.
“The project supplies Concord and Cabarrus County with a water source that is not as reactive to drought conditions as our current reservoirs,” Concord’s Putnam said. “It also will meet future development water needs for an additional 20-year planning horizon.”
As further testament to the “we-is-better-than-me” perspective, Lane said, “Ferguson is fortunate to have such a great working relationship with AMERICAN. Not only do they manufacture quality products, but also their support staff is professional and a pleasure to work with. The truth is, there will always be bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome in this line of work; however, what separates the Ferguson/AMERICAN partnership is how we react and overcome these challenges for the customer. Whether it’s a lead time issue or complication in the field, the Ferguson/AMERICAN partnership finds a way to assure the confidence of the customer.”