BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Work crews have been busy installing approximately 1 mile of new water line in uptown Maumee.
Water lines that carry clean water from the water towers in Maumee to the buildings in the uptown area are in need of replacement. The lines are aged – in some cases nearly 100 years old – and measuring 4-6 inches in diameter, they are also substandard in size. The new 8-inch diameter pipe is made of cast iron.
The lines being replaced run east and west along the alleyways from Gibbs to Allen streets. All of those lines, from Broadway Street to the south and William Street to the north, are being replaced in what is considered the first phase of the project.
To do the work, crews are using a pipe-boring system to install the new lines, which is more efficient than digging up the ground and pulling out the old lines, said capital projects manager Matt Miles.
The old pipes remain in the ground and will stay in service until the new lines are installed, sanitized and pressure-tested. Once the new lines are connected, the old lines are drained and capped, but they will remain underground, Miles said.
“The pits or holes people see are pressure release points to push mud out of the ground,” he said.
The holes are also needed to install the new taps from the new water lines to the buildings, Miles said. A temporary water shutoff for buildings and homes – 30 to 40 minutes – is typically needed to complete that portion of the work.
In May, Maumee City Council authorized a $1.02 million contract with Underground Utilities for the project. An alternative to traditional pipe replacement known as pipe bursting was also included as part of the bid process at a cost of $400 per lineal foot. Pipe and related materials for the project were purchased earlier this year at a cost of approximately $288,000. That action was taken to avoid potential delays in getting the needed materials for the project.
The water line replacement work happening in the uptown district is not associated with other sewer projects involving separating the sanitary system from the storm system. That work remains ongoing and involves correcting the overburdened storm system due to aging infrastructure, which has resulted in illegal sewage discharges into the Maumee River.
“This project is not related to that work, but if we do find properties with improper sewer connections, we are addressing those as we come to them,” Miles said.
The first phase of the water line replacement project should be completed in November. Additional work will likely continue along the alleys from Gibbs Street to River Road; however, material supply availability will dictate when that work takes place. Once the new water lines are installed, the alleys will likely be paved, Miles added.