City Council Updated on Water System Project – Possible Cost, $10,000,000July 3rd, 2013 by Sarah Spencer
Mayor Alan Maxwell concluded the monthly meeting of the City Council with an update on the City water project. The final cost of the water project, which includes 4,200 meters and approximately 93 miles of water pipes, is $10 million. Maxwell pointed out that this is a “performance based contract”, which means the city is guaranteed to recover all of its expenses on the project
This includes a drive-by meter reading system in lieu of the fixed base meter reading system, which would have been more costly. With the drive-by meter reading system, a water department employee will drive past each meter, and the meter will automatically send the meter reading to the employee’s laptop computer in the vehicle. Although the drive-by system will not require that the meter reader get out of the vehicle to read the meter, the employee will be able to visually inspect the units as they drive by. The system can be updated to the fixed base system if the City decides they should do so in the future.
Maxwell stated that they are working with the Bond Council and the local banks to obtain financing for the project. Once the financing is arranged, it will be brought before the Council for a vote. With the Council’s approval, the City will immediately sign a contract with Siemens to begin the work. The meters will be installed first. Meter installation would likely be completed by January 1, 2014. On completion of that segment of the project, Siemens will begin to replace the water pipes.
Siemens has divided the project into six segments. They will complete the project, one segment at a time. The first segment will be in the vicinity of Wards 3 and 4. Mayor Maxwell reported that 60% of all the water leaks are located in the oldest part of town, in an area that comprises 19% of the city’s total area. This is a huge advantage to the project, because they will be able to fix the majority of the city’s water leaks by replacing the pipes in this 19% of the city, during the first segment of the project. After the first section is completed, the majority of the problems will be taken care of, and Siemens will move on to another segment of the city.
There has been some discussion about saving the old trees on Main Street. They are talking about boring instead of digging, to help preserve the trees. They will try to keep the water pipes as close to the street as they can, and out of people’s yards as much as possible. Because Siemens are professionals who do nothing but replace water pipes; Mayor Maxwell feels confident that the City has selected the best company possible to replace the damaged water system with a minimum amount of collateral damage.
Maxwell reported that the city has been extremely fortunate to have extremely good quality water, and has been very fortunate that the leaking pipes have not caused any water quality problems. The City is able to use a minimum amount of chemicals for water treatment, and the water is always of good quality when tested by the Health Department. Mayor Maxwell states that once the pipes are replaced in the core of the city, which he reports will eliminate 60% of the water leaks, the Water Department will begin to be able to show a profit.