Seligman sets plan for water line issues

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Pipes from 1950s failing due to age

As residents in Seligman already know, the 5-year water rate increase is in its third year, and the city is continuously working on water line issues that pop up.

Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk, said the transite pipe that extends from north of city hall to north of the Dollar General area was installed in the 1950s.

“A common cause for failure in transite pipes is acid in the ground around it,” he said. “We don’t have acidic water, and I can’t speak to the acid in the ground, but that is a common reason for failure.”

Transite pipes have been pulled out due to failure in Seligman without the presence of acidic wear on the pipes.

“It is in isolated areas, and with that piping having been [installed] in the 50s, it is holding up well, all things considered,” Nichols said. “The transite pipe was originally put in as a mainline down the middle of town, and the big failure in the transite piping is due to age.”

Nichols said in Seligman the ground is rocky and moves a lot, so that creates a big issue with damaging pipes, as well.

“The galvanized pipe was also [installed] in the 1950s when they started hooking up homes to the main line,” he said. “Chlorine does not go well with galvanized pipes, and it isn’t the actions today, but rather the long-term actions over time. The ground will eventually rust through galvanized pipe causing tiny pinholes.”

The pinholes are too small to even fit a pinky finger into, but they leak a lot of water.

“This will happen anyway due to age in the pipe, but the chlorine really accelerates it,” he said. “PVC is a primary waterline source today, it is a go-to material because it lasts forever.”

PVC was added in Seligman in the 1980s.

“When they put in Highway 37, they put in 6-inch PVC under all the roads,” Nichols said. “As the transite and galvanized pipes fail, we are replacing them with PVC.”

Two years ago, Seligman began its water rate increase for the $2 million water project.

“That project will replace all transite in the ground,” Nichols said. “We are now halfway though the plan to get that done.”

A bond issue project will start in 2022-2023, which will be paid for by the current water rate increase plans that are already in place.

“There is nothing new to this — it is a continuing issue that we are dealing with,” Nichols said. “At the time that the valves were installed, they were made with metal and concrete. The metal is rusting away and rotting the transite. Replacing it all with PVC is part of the project.”

Until the full project can be carried out, Seligman is plagued with little leaks that add up over time.

“We are also running into issues outside the city with the wall PVC that isn’t holding up,” Nichols said. “We have gone through and replaced several lines so far, we are just waiting on the rain to give a break to fix more. We are actively working on it.”

This year is the third year of the 5-year water rate increase.

“Once we hit that [5-year] end point, there won’t be any additional rate increases for this project,” Nichols said.

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