Riviera Utilities seeks to build water distribution site on County Road 12

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 2/23/21

FOLEY - Riviera Utilities has approached the City of Foley about purchasing a piece of city property located along County Road 12. If an agreement is reached, Riviera plans to proceed with designs …

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Riviera Utilities seeks to build water distribution site on County Road 12

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FOLEY - Riviera Utilities has approached the City of Foley about purchasing a piece of city property located along County Road 12. If an agreement is reached, Riviera plans to proceed with designs for a potential water distribution site at the location. After discussions at the Feb. 15 council meeting, the item will move into a first and second reading during the March meetings.

The site is currently used by the Fire Department and houses Fire Station 2. Riviera reached out to the city in 2018 about purchasing property to create additional water capability in the area. They were allowed to perform test wells at the site during 2019, believing at the time they could utilize a portion of the property instead of the entire lot. After results came back, Riviera approached the city once more during fall 2020 about purchasing the entire lot.

“Around 2000, a fire station was built on the property, and what prompted that was ISO. The city was losing some substantial ISO credit for insurance purposes related to the Graham Creek area, so a fire station was built there that would be recognized as an ISO approved fire station, but it never was, based on my evaluation of the records, designed to be staffed,” said Fire Chief Joey Darby.

As Fire Station 2 was not designed to be a manned station, this prompted the construction of Fire Station 3, a fully operational and manned station.

“We accomplished the same thing with a manned fire station to meet those ISO requirements for the whole southeast quadrant,” Darby said. “That’s why there’s a fire station there, and why that fire station is not needed today.”

Since opening Fire Station 3, the department has used the unmanned station as a storage space for surplus equipment that is non-emergency or time sensitive. If the lot is sold to Riviera and plans for the water distribution site are approved, Riviera representatives say it will take approximately one year to finish designing and planning and then a second year of actual construction. This would give Darby’s staff a year to find a new storage unit, which he says shouldn’t be an issue.

“From a service standpoint, water is the major factor with what we do, obviously, on the fire suppression side of things, and water is always a concern,” he said. “So for me, not only does it give me an opportunity to relocate some things, I would look forward to the opportunity Riviera might have to enhance water capacity on the southeast quadrant. We’ve got a lot of homes down there, and a lot more coming, but already a lot of homes that need to be serviced.”

The proposed water distribution site would require wells, a treatment plant, a storage tank, a generator, and a storm water retention pond. The storage facility would hold approximately two million gallons of water, be 100 feet wide and 30 - 40 feet tall. It would not have a fulltime staff, but would have Riviera employees coming on site each day to check the chemical levels, the pumps, and ensure operations were running smoothly.

Councilmember Dick Dayton visited an operating Riviera water distribution site to check on noise levels. Since the site will be approximately 300 feet away from backyards the possibility of disruptive noise concerned him. After visiting the site, he said he is not concerned about the volume.

“The noise factor is absolutely minimum,” he said. “I had a good conversation with Riviera representatives 15 feet away from where the pumps were operating and it was not an issue at all.”

Another concern Dayton voiced was landscaping around the site, fearing it may be extremely industrial situated near communities. Riviera’s Chief Operating Officer James Wallace said plans are still in development, but the team would work with the neighborhood and city on the best landscaping choices. He said trees, walls, fences, or a combination was possible to block the view of the tank.

The first reading to consider the sale of the property is currently scheduled for Foley’s March 1 council meeting. To learn more about the City of Foley, visit https://cityoffoley.org.