Busy year for water department
This past year has been extremely rewarding and very busy. As I have mentioned in previous articles the water department does our own water main replacements. We do this for several reasons but the most important reason is that we can stretch the dollars used for these projects. We have engineer’s estimates for the different water projects and we are generally about half the engineer’s cost by doing these projects ourselves. What does this mean? We can replace twice as much footage of water main for the same cost as having someone else do these projects.
The water main projects we did this year are as follows. The first project we did was replace the water main on Perkins Street from Sixth to 10th Street. This replacement was replacing a 10-inch water main with a 10-inch plastic water main. The final cost on this project was $156,130.08 and the engineer’s estimate was $293,475.00 or a savings of $137,345.00 or 46.8%.
The next water main project we did was on South Seventh Street from Perkins to Bell. This was replacing a 4- inch water main with a 6-inch plastic water main. The final cost on this project was $56,040.25 and engineer’s estimate was $112,320.00 or a savings of $56,280.00 or 50.1%.
The third water main project was on South Ninth Street from Scott to Doane Street. This also was replacing a 4-inch with a 6-inch water main. The final cost on this was $45,499.49 and engineer’s estimate was $111,150 or a savings of $61,651.00 or 55.5%.
The fourth water main project we did was on Scott Street from Seventh to 11th Street. This also was replacing a 4-inch with a 6-inch water main. The final cost was $90,802.61 and engineer’s estimate was $180,999.00 or a savings of $90,197.00 or 49.8%.
The fifth and final project for this fiscal year is currently in progress on South 11th Street from Scott Street to Holbrook Street. I look for this project to also be in the half price range of having a contractor do this work. This was replacing a 4-inch with 6-inch water main.
All the replacement projects are done by using directional drilling. This method requires very little digging of the entire footage and is very well liked by our customers for this reason. We install the connection taps, install the water main, pressure test the water main, disinfect and flush the water main and then finally coliform bacteria test the water main. If all goes as planned and the coliform bacteria test is good then we can hook over the individual water services to the new water main. Once the water services are hooked over to the new water main then we disconnect the old water main. In the meantime all areas that were dug open are tamped back with dirt and seeded with grass. We have very little complaints of the finished product.
There are two reasons the water mains are scheduled for replacement. The first is by the number of water main breaks on the existing water main. These are charted and when we start to see a trend it is recommended by our engineers to be replaced. The second reason is the size of the water main. We have a goal to replace all 4-inch water mains with at least a 6-inch water mains to achieve of a minimum of 1000 gallon per minute (GPM) fire flow from the fire hydrants in a residential area. The water main size is much larger in commercial and industrial areas for the required fire flows set by our ISO rating for insurance cost.
The department has a computer model of our water system and it is calibrated by using the pressures we get from our fire hydrant flow testing. It is very accurate. We can input the required fire flow information and it will tell us what size of water main improvements are needed to obtain this fire protection. And yes we do color-code our fire hydrants for the fire department so they know approximately how many gallons of water are available for fire fighting.
There are many things that make up the water system and most not think about them when they turn on the faucet to get a drink or take a shower the Water Department works to make sure you have safe drinking water for your needs. And yes we are BUSY BUSY BUSY.