Stuff you might not know about Gulf Shores Utilities…
By Fran Thompson
1. Let’s repeat the largest feather in Gulf Shores Utilities’ cap. There has not been a rate increase since 1996.
2. The utility has over 11,300 water customers, 7,200 sewer customers and takes in about $8 million per year in revenue. Condos only count as one customer. Most of the utility growth in the past four years has been in the single family home market.
3. Its water supply wells and water treatment plants have a total treatment capacity of 9.72 million gallons per day. Its annual average daily flow is approximately 3.5 million gallons per day with its peak daily flow rate of 6.5 million gallons per day.
4. Its service area covers from County Road 10 southward to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Gulf State Park to Historical Fort Morgan.
5. There was really not much to replace after 1979’s Hurricane Frederick leveled Gulf Shores’ beachfront properties, setting off the island’s first condo boom. But after 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, the utility was able to implement many important new time and cost saving procedures, especially on the wastewater treatment side.
– The utility spent $750K to replace control panels at the utility lift station that were damaged. The replacement panels are now removed before major storms and housed off island.
– Bypass pumps are installed to keep lift stations operating as long as possible before the storm landfall and after storm until electricity is reinstated to lift stations.
– There is now GPS location software on water meters in the Gulf Beach and Fort Morgan areas which will help worker locate meters after storm situation
-All water meters have AMR reader which allow the meters to be read before any storm and to determine any meter damage after the storm with a subsequent read.
6. Gulf Shores Utilities wastewater plant was converted to a Water Reclamation Facility back in the early 1990’s to supply irrigation water to the Gulf State Park golf course. However, the golf course has not used the reclamation water for irrigation since around 2001
7. The utility has drilled 12 observation wells spread throughout its coverage area in addition to its production wells. The observation wells allow utility employees to monitor its aquifer for changes in the water level to determine pumping effect on aquifers during peak and off-peak seasons. Consulting geologists will use these wells’ information to determine the best location for future production wells.