WaterWorks News: Jackson main breakages, stimulus at work in Kennebunkport, Alaska water quality improvement projects and more

March 2010 Vol. 65 No. 3
Workers repairing breaks in Jackson, MS' water mains.

Winter storms bring woes to crumbling pipes
The recent winter months brought about 150 water main breaks to the city of Jackson, MS. Some of the cities’ 100-year old pipes that are made of pit cast iron became brittle and were prone to breakage when the ground shifted due to the freezing temperatures, many of which are buried in clay.

Jackson’s City Council has plans to discuss a resolution to ask the state legislature for money to begin replacing its crumbling waterlines. The cost could be anywhere from $72 million to $300 million, according to Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.

Windfall stimulus funds for Kennebunkport water pipe replacement
In Kennebunkport, ME, a 10,000-foot long water pipe replacement project is slated for this year. The Maine Drinking Water Program received four times the amount of money from the EPA this year because of stimulus funds. The $2 million-plus project will to begin around March 1.

Normally, a project of this size would take five or six years to complete because of the cost involved. Stimulus funds changed that this year. Originally, there was only $40 million available to the 162 water utilities in the state, however, contractors were able to bring in those projects early ahead of time and under budget, making it possible for the district to receive the funds.

The district’s crew will replace the old 10-inch metal piping, much of which was installed between 1895 and 1910, with 16-inch plastic pipes.

Alaska awarded $40M for water quality improvement projects
To address the chronic water quality problems and provide jobs to rural residents, communities across rural Alaska will receive $49 million through the Rural Alaska Village Grant Program. Alaska also received $16 million in October 2009 for rural water projects from the Village Grant Program, bringing the total to $65 million.

Saxman, a predominantly Native community located near Ketchikan, uses a water system that does not meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. About $2.3 million in Federal funds will be provided to construct a new water treatment plant, bury water mains, build sewer collection mains and decommission the old water treatment plant. A new water treatment plant and backwash lagoon will also be built in Ouzinke, on Kodiak Island.