VANDALIA — Since 2010 the City of Vandalia has undertaken an ambitious project to begin replacing water mains throughout the city.
The city has about 86 miles of water main with much of it cast iron pipe that was installed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Those pipes have shown their age over the past few years with water main breaks becoming more and more frequent, especially in the winter months.
Currently the city is replacing about 2,000 feet of water main on Kenbrook Drive. To date, the city has replaced about 13,000 feet of water main, less than 3%. Streets include Buttercup, Kirkwood, Greenhurst, Westhafer, and a part of Helke Road.
In 2018, water mains on Foley and Skyview Drives will be replaced. Locations are chosen based on the frequency of water main breaks that is charted by the city.
Vandalia’s Director of Public Service Rob Cron said the new water mains will be an improvement both in size and material.
“We have had about 12 breaks on this stretch over the years,” said Cron. “We are replacing the old six inch water main with an eight inch one due to development and increased service for fire fighting and hydrants,” he said. “Cast iron pipe is brittle and subject to corrosion. We are installing ductile iron pipe which is metal pipe that is concrete lined and sealed so that the life expectancy of it is greater. It’s not brittle like the cast iron is.”
Cron said that the city has received some grant funding for the projects.
“We have been fortunate to receive some outside funding with grants through the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program,” Cron said. “The current project now on Kenbrook Drive was awarded up to $200,000 from the (OPWC). We also received $200,000 from OPWC on last year’s Grosbeck ‘street project. The Greenhurst Drive project was awarded $90,000 through the CDBG program. We have submitted applications to OPWC for the two projects for next year and should know by the end of the year if we will be awarded the funding.”
He said that the city has also saved 5-10% by performing surveying and design work in-house rather than contracting it out.
Another source of funding is capital funding that is paid through water and sewer utility charges. The city recently increased water rates while decreasing sewer rates in an effort to generate more capital funds in the water fund.
“The adjustments in the rates basically offset each other to our customers so that little if any change was noticed on their utility bill,” said Cron. “Since the water improvements are more costly and urgent than our sewer projects this was implemented last year so that we could continue with our program.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.