New water pump expands Black Mountain’s potential for growth

Avadim Technologies expansion brings more water to town

Fred McCormick

A new high-capacity water pump that will facilitate the announced Avadim Technologies expansion means growth in Black Mountain "will run out of land before we run out of water," its town manager said last week.

The pump, paid for with grant money, should entice other businesses to locate in the 200-acre Commerce Park, where 
Asheville-based Avadim will expand. The 700,000-gallon-per-day pump will provide water to the town even as it drives growth at the industrial park west of town, Black Mountain town manager Matt Settlemyer said.

Combined with the town's current water capacity, "that will provide for growth for the foreseeable future for the town," he said. It will also mean that as many as 600 Black Mountain residents will soon begin buying water from the town rather than the city of Asheville.

Jordan Brown, from right, Adam Shelton and Jarrod McIntosh on March 16 inspect a water line they've been putting in near Old Toll Road in east Black Mountain.

The pump’s main purpose is to provide water for Black Mountain Commerce Park, where Asheville-based Avadim Technologies' $25.4 million expansion will bring more than 550 jobs to the area. The town received two grants - a Golden LEAF grant and one from the U.S. Economic Development Administration - to pay for a pump station, which will be located on the property that currently houses the town's public services building.

The Golden LEAF Foundation was created in 1999 after the nation’s four largest cigarette manufacturers were ordered to pay $206 billion to 46 states over 25 years. The Economic Development Administration assists in projects that bring employment to economically distressed communities.

Black Mountain and Asheville have been talking about transferring the 600 or so water customer years for more than 20 years, Settlemyer said. One of the "sticking points" has been who paid for the transfer station. The grant money "crosses that hurdle for us,” he said.

Black Mountain currently provides water to about 3,400 customers. The town maintains 62 miles of water lines extending north just beyond the town’s golf course on North Fork Road, east to Dunsmore Cove in Ridgecrest, south to The Settings and west just beyond Tabernacle Road on Old U.S. 70, according to public services director Jamey Matthews.

Bringing the 600 new customers into the town's water system will happen in two phases and will likely have a minimal impact on the workload of Matthews’ department. But much of that depends on the condition of the Asheville-maintained lines, Matthews said.

“What we’ll do is sit down with Asheville and meet before this transfer,” Matthews said. “We’ll get all of the information about those lines, and that information will be exchanged. It won’t be a big impact on us, it will just be taking on a larger water system.”

The details surrounding the transfer of customers have yet to be ironed out, Settlemyer said. "This does have to happen by the end of this calendar year," he told Black Mountain aldermen during their February meeting. "We are anticipating that sometime between the spring and winter of next year."

The first phase of moving the Asheville customers into the Black Mountain system will happen this year and will impact 300 customers on Cragmont Road, just east of Camp Dorothy Walls Conference & Retreat Center to the end of Blue Ridge Assembly Road. There is no set timeline for the second phase, which will involve 300 customers north of U.S. 70.

"Asheville has a water tank above Allen Mountain at Black Mountain Estates," Settlemyer said. "That tank is considered obsolete by the state. That's what's used to serve the customers that will come to us in the second phase when that time comes."

The customers won't see much difference in service, according to Settlemyer. "The only difference is they’ll notice different people working on the lines if there’s a problem,” he said.