Salem utilities board hears line break report

SALEM–With water line replacement projects on North Ellsworth Avenue and in the southeast quadrant of the city nearing their start, a utilities administrator provided data to the utilities commission showing the areas have consistently caused problems.

Matt Hoopes, assistant utilities superintendent, provided information showing 1,310 water line breaks since the department began collecting the data in 1974, a rate of 43.5 per year. He said a 10-year projection predicts the breaks to increase to 39 to 46 per year. So far this year there has been seven, only half of the usual amount, he noted.

According to the data, the leaks are largely along the North Ellsworth Avenue and Benton Road areas, as well as the entire southeast corner of the city.

Commission Chairman Bob Hodgson said he requested the data to help identify problem areas in reference to water leaks. Not only is the data useful in that regard, but it also validates that the commission is focusing on the most troublesome areas, he said after the presentation.

At the meeting, Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart reported the bid opening for the North Ellsworth Avenue water line replacement project, which includes the stretch between West 10th Street and Bricker Farms Lane, is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 2. The project is estimated at $980,000 and is being bid as a 120-day contract, with work likely starting in July.

Mayor John Berlin acknowledged the timeline and said the city’s paving project will have to be scheduled accordingly.

The plans for the other project, which includes Carole Drive between Southeast Boulevard and Whinnery Road, all of Fairview Court and the south half of Home Circle, have been approved and the permit-to-install forwarded to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Hoopes said. The advertisement for bids should be ready soon, he said.

The next commission meeting has been changed to 4 p.m. May 11 in the utilities department conference room.