Seligman preps for water line replacements

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

City hopes to cut down on water loss, remove old pipes in spring

The city of Seligman is getting ready to replace old water lines throughout the city in a project beginning this year.

Wayne Persons, maintenance supervisor for the city, said the cold weather has done a number on the aged pipes this year, and the city has set aside $140,000 in its budget to begin a multiphase replacement project in March.

"With the bad weather, we've had a lot of pipes freeze and had to shut off a lot of people to get the lines fixed," he said. "A lot of people have pipes under their homes, and the cold weather has caused them to break."

Persons said last month, the city had to fix an old galvanized pipe that had a pinhole in the top and was leaking water, at a cost to the city.

Brian Nichols, city clerk, said water losses totaled 920,000 gallons in December, 600,000 of which was from broken pipes or meters that were damages in the cold temperatures. The other 320,000 gallons of loss, Nichols said, are from normal city uses, such as water or city hall, fighting fires or flushing water hydrants.

The goal of the city's pipe-replacement project is to cut down on the number of gallons lost from broken pipes or meters.

"We'll start with the eight-inch pipe behind city hall that is the main line coming into town," Persons said. "We're also moving to six-inch pipes everywhere, instead of the two-inch and four-inch pipes we have in some places now."

Persons said the city has been setting money aside for the project for some time now, but it has been difficult because Seligman is still paying $30,000 per year on the 1997 sewer system grant and the 2003 water tower grant. The two were refinanced and combined in 2012, saving the city $14,000 per year in payments.

Jerry Montgomery, mayor of Seligman, said discussions about replacing the pipes first began in 2010, and he's happy to see the city moving toward taking action.

"I'll be tickled pink to get this project underway," he said. "It's a pretty big project, so it will be ongoing for a while. The subject came up in 2010, and we've talked about it ever since, but very little has been done."

Persons said the first phase of the project will begin in March and likely run throughout the summer, and the city will have to hire extra employees to get everything done.

"Right now, it's just me and one other guy, but we are about to hire another permanent employee, and we'll probably have to hire a couple more people to help when the project starts," he said. "It's hard to say how long it will take, but a project like this is pretty time-consuming, so we'll probably be working on it through the better part of the summer."

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