Otto Duke well operational

Published 4:15 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

For years, Otto Duke’s name was synonymous with water in the Camellia City. So, it was only appropriate, felt city officials, that the city’s newest well be dedicated in his honor.

The well on McKenzie Grade Road was officially named the The Otto Duke Well by the city’s Water Works and Sewer Board on Tuesday.

Duke managed Greenville’s water works for 33 years and also served as a city councilman. He retired from the city in 1999 and died in September of 2005 at the age of 75.

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“This was his life,” said Mayor Dexter McLendon of Duke. “There’s nobody that worked any harder and as many hours. And there was nobody that knew where the (water) lines were like he did. He was dedicated to making the city a better place.”

McLendon said the idea came from a discussion he had with Velma Briggs, water board secretary and treasurer.

“One of our wells is named after William Lewis (the deceased former chairman of the water board),” said McLendon. “We took this to the board several months ago and it was approved and now we’re in the process of turning this well on. It’s an honor to be able to name it after him to tell the truth.”

Water board chairman Joby Norman said the new well has the capacity to pump 800 gallons per minute. Norman said water from the well is pumped to the nearby William Lewis well where it is treated then piped into the city.

It is the city’s sixth well.

“Some of the wells in town had gotten old and they were all pulling from the same (Ripley) aquifer,” said Norman. “That was the reason we had to go farther outside of the town.”