The Richmond Register

February 9, 2014

New lines to improve downtown water quality

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A project to replace the iron water pipes in a downtown Richmond neighborhood is expected to resolve the problem of discolored water that many residents have been dealing with for years.

Richmond Utilities Superinten-dent Scott Althauser said the work, which is being performed from North Street to Woodland and Glyndon avenues, will replace the lines with PVC pipes that do not corrode like the iron ones.

“Those (iron) pipes were definitely showing their age,” he said.

Althauser emphasized that discolored water from the old pipes did not contain any dangerous contaminants.

“There’s never been anything harmful in it,” Althauser said.

Another contributor to downtown water problems was dead-end lines where water tended to sit and not circulate through the system properly, he said. To alleviate that, a water line loop is being created from Woodland and Glyndon avenues to Third Street.

“The whole area should see an improvement in water quality,” Althauser said.

However, after the work is completed, Althauser said if residents still have problems with discolored water, they may have to check the pipes inside their homes. Several houses in the neighborhood are more than 50 years old.

“Homeowners might have to look at lines inside their houses” to see if repairs or replacements need to be done, Althauser said.

The project is expected to be finished by the end of March.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to the residents,” Althauser said. Woodland Avenue has been closed to through traffic, and there may be interruptions in water service because of the work.

The project began a couple of a weeks ago but has been held up by multiple winter storms. Althauser said pipe relining work is easier to perform in cold weather because in the spring there is more water saturating the ground.

“The frozen ground is easier to work in,” Althauser said.

The contractor for the project, Martin Contracting, also was less busy in the winter and gave the city a favorable bid of $125,000 for the work, Althauser said.

After the street work is done, service lines to individual water meters will have to be replaced, he added.

“We’re reinvesting in the infrastructure of Richmond,” Althauser said.

The utility plans on targeting more areas with water quality problems as capital funds for the projects become available, he said.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.