LOGAN — A glimmer of light is beginning to appear at the end of the City of Logan’s water infrastructure project that initially started almost three years ago.
The most notable change recently has been the walls being built for the new water treatment facility. The projected date of completion is December of this year and will hopefully be online for use by January of 2020. Once online and in working order for citizens to use, the construction crew will begin tearing down the old facility.
Another portion of the project coming to completion soon are the water meters for all residents. The City of Logan has a little over 3,500 meters with only 200 left to install.
When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) talked with Mayor Greg Fraunfelter about the need to update and replace the city’s water infrastructure, they informed him the city had a 60 percent water loss. This means, customers were either getting free water or the meters weren’t working properly.
At the start of the project the City had 663 meters that were not reading the water usage properly; therefore, customers were being charged the base rate. Additionally, over 200 meters were not accounted for or turned on. While Fraunfelter doesn’t like to pay a higher water bill either, he reminded residents that this had to be done for the benefit of the City.
Additionally, the new water meter system will save the City financially because it has the ability to tell the water department if a meter has been tampered with, which has already happened twice Fraunfelter pointed out. The system will hopefully bring in more funds since the meters are now being read correctly.
“When you consider that we had about a 1,000 meters that were not working properly or that were not even installed, yes, the City is benefiting financially. It’s improving so that we can actually keep up on the things that the City has not been able to keep up with in the past,” explained Fraunfelter.
The new water tower that was completed toward the end of April has also improved the water pressure for residents thus far. Fraunfetler noted this tower had been talked about being replaced since the 90s and has helped evenly distribute the water pressure for everyone within the City limits.
Crews are about to begin phase three of the project with putting in new water lines and replacing or repairing fire hydrants. This project is being done by TAM Construction out of Athens, stated Gary Silcott, principal of Stantec Consulting Services.
This project will hopefully start within a couple weeks and will replace 60 fire hydrants and 13,000 feet of water line. Silcott notes the advantage of using this company for the project is that they do a lot of boring, meaning they may bore some of the water lines so they don’t have to tear up the streets.
This project is estimated to be $2.1 million, but the City received half of the funds through a grant and the other half as a zero percent interest loan. The bid TAM Construction made on the project was $1,848,366, which Silcott added is good because they have some flexibility in case they are able to add some additional areas.
As for the project in Downtown Logan of replacing light poles and fixing the storm drains, the process is moving slower than expected.
The City received a grant from Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for $1.1 million to replace sidewalks and other improvements downtown. As a part of this project, the City plans to replace the curbs, which will improve the life of the road since water won’t be flowing between there and the curbs.
“The original thought was that we were going to try and get everything done and ready and try to have it in construction after the Washboard Festival, but with the funding and the City having to come up with their portion of the money to pay for the engineering, that didn’t happen until earlier this year,” mentioned Silcott.
The project plans have been sent to ODOT for review and approval but is estimated to go out for bid this fall, which means construction won’t be happening anytime soon.
Though this is a long and painful transition, Fraunfelter and Silcott point out this will benefit everyone in the long run.
“I’m extremely happy and proud of the workers of the City, the street, water, billing offices. The headaches these people have put up with for the last year and a half are about to come to an end and they have been very good through it,” expressed Fraunfelter.