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Water pipe project in its final phase

July 12, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Cutting and capping the old water-line valves is scheduled to begin today as the Town of Bath water replacement project nears completion.

A final work order was approved Wednesday by the Bath Town Council.

David Diehl, who is supervising the project for Cowgirl Up, the contractor that replaced the water lines, said site preparations were to begin immediately, and the first valve to be cut and capped is on the northwest corner of U.S. 522 and Fairfax Street.

Diehl said no traffic will be affected at the site.

Councilman David Crosby, who chairs the finance committee, said Hydra Stop Inc. will cut and cap 15 water-line valves at a cost of $121,399.

Wesley Burns of Hydra Stop Inc. has been subcontracted by Cowgirl Up, said Terry Largent, chief water operator for Berkeley Springs Water Works, the town-owned water company.

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New water pipes have replaced 98 percent of the century-old lines in the town, and as soon as the old valves are cut and capped, water will begin traveling through the new pipes, town officials said.

The water-line replacement project began in September 2006.

More than half of the water is lost through the old leaking pipes, and the water plant has been pumping water at 98 percent capacity for some time, which led to a moratorium on adding new water taps to the system.

Since the water plant has been operating at a 98 percent capacity, new water taps had to be denied because pumping capacity cannot be more than 80 percent, Crosby said.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission approved the moratorium in September 2005 and made it retroactive to March 2005.

Since the June 18 town council meeting, water department and town officials have been attempting to fit the valve cut and cap project into the budget.

The first plan was to use the Hydra Stop cut and cap machine that was loaned from Shepherdstown Water Department, but later was nixed when Largent learned it would cost about $11,000 for the repair kit and additional funds for the materials. Plus, it was questionable whether the machine would function properly.

Crosby said about $70,500 was left from the pipe replacement project to be used for cutting and capping the valves. A $50,874 adjustment was made to the contract, reducing it from $2,121,000 to $2,071,000, which will pay for the 15 valves.

The completion date is Sept. 1.

The Town of Bath is the local government inside Berkeley Springs.

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