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Local News

Funding helps water department replace more lines

December 27th, 2011 10:50 pm by Gary B. Gray

Funding helps water department replace more lines

Johnson City’s Water and Sewer Services Department has been replacing small-diameter galvanized water lines for more than two decades, but the quantity of work increased dramatically a few years ago when additional funding was made available.
The second of a two-phase replacement project is now underway, and many Johnson City water customers are experiencing improved service with better pressure, elimination of discolored water and a reduction of leaks.
The project’s first phase began in November 2009 and consisted of waterline replacements in four areas: Presidential Streets, Belle Terrace (Washington County), Austin Springs Road and Walnut Grove Road (Sullivan County). The contract amount was $1,073,112, and actual cost came in at $982,521
By October 2010, 18,730 linear feet of new waterline was installed, giving 348 customers improved reliability and capacity.
A second phase, which has a contract amount of $912,400, currently is under way in the Dogwood/Gillfield (Sullivan County) and Mountcastle Hills subdivisions, where 16,795 linear feet of waterline is scheduled to be replaced by October 2012. More than 250 customers will benefit from this phase of the project.
About 90 percent of work in Mountcastle Hills and 30 percent in Dogwood/Gillfield is complete. Customers are currently being connected to the new lines in both areas.
“Galvanized piping was a common material used in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s in many subdivisions, service areas, and homes,” said Tom Witherspoon, Water and Sewer Services director. “The type of pipe has been prone to internal corrosion resulting in customer issues.”
The department has been replacing galvanized lines with larger diameter ductile iron or PVC waterlines for about 20 years, which has resulted in over 400,000 feet being replaced and the total amount system-wide being reduced by more than 58 percent.
The additional funding provided to accelerate the work should result in the amount being significantly reduced or totally eliminated within seven to 10 years.
“We are fortunate to have a City Commission that is committed to providing a high level of service for our customers,” Witherspoon said. “We are proud to have completed Phase One under budget and anticipate the same for Phase Two.”
Johnson City Water and Sewer Services Department operates both water and sewer infrastructure inside the corporate limits of Johnson City and in portions of four counties outside the city limits. Each year, the department treats over 5 billion gallons of potable water and processes over 4 billion gallons of wastewater.

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