Water pipes to cost city millions

November 17, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown city official says it will cost more than $17 million to replace the aging waterlines that run from the R.C. Willson Water Treatment Plant to the city's West End.

City Utilities Director Michael Spiker said the lines are up to 80 years old, and break about nine times a year in cold weather. Each break costs the city between $10,000 and $35,000 to fix. That price excludes the cost of millions of gallons of treated water that are lost.

Spiker, who presented the situation to the City Council on Tuesday, said if the council approves, the project could begin in 2009 and take roughly two years to finish. The preliminary cost is about $17.3 million, he said.

Funding for the project probably would come from typical funding sources, including state financing, city bond financing and water-allocation fees, Spiker wrote in a memorandum.


He said the new waterlines would last about 50 years. Installation would require crossing two streams and five roads including Interstate 81, U.S. 11 and Md. 63. There would be no road closures or detours, he said.

Spiker will ask the council later this month to approve the project's design, he said. If the council agrees, the request to proceed with construction would come later.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the project is vital.

"In the long run, there's no choice," he said. "Ultimately, it will be cheaper to do it than to do nothing."

The two 36-inch in diameter replacement lines will be a huge improvement over the ones that are there now, he said.

City records show the existing lines are 24 inches in diameter.

The maximum demand on the city's system is about 15 million gallons of water per day, Spiker said. The system serves about 88,000 customers in Hagerstown's metropolitan area and the towns of Funkstown, Smithsburg and Williamsport through separate wholesale water service agreements.

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