Those who have worked hard on this project over the past few years are former Wayland Trustee Phil Berry, Wayland Village Maintenance Supervisor Matt McCarthy, Wayland Mayor Mike Parks, MRB Group Civil Engineer Greg Hotaling, LaBella Program Manager Kathy Dear and many others.
Berry said that this project has been developing over a long period of time.
“We have had three public meetings on this project,” he said. “We are discussing what we would like to do, what we have done, and what we are working on.”
During the informational meeting on the Water System Project on Feb. 1, the public was allowed to voice its opinions and concerns.
There were examples of the old pipes, and photos of the damage that needs to be fixed.
Most of the village is still operating with the original water pipes put in the roads in 1903. There are some from the 1930s and 1970s as well.
McCarthy said about 80 percent of the pipes are from 1903 in the village.
The project to fix and upgrade the water system is looking towards being a $8.7 million project. Parks said this is the worst case scenario price, and the village is working on getting that cheaper. However, the village does have a $3 million grant, and others on the horizon.
Berry began the presentation with some background on what has already been done.
“For many years the primary challenge facing village boards and its licensed operators was how to fund and maintain an aging water infrastructure,” he said. “In recent years the challenge is no longer how to fund the maintenance, but rather how to fund replacement or repairs until replacements can be made. The reality of this shift is clear, that the current water system is on borrowed time.”
In 2013 the village did a chlorine contract upgrade. In 2014 the village replaced water mains, hydrants, isolation valves and curb stops on Lincoln Street.
“Throughout the duration of these projects and subsequent years following, significant deficiencies were identified and corrective actions developed. Some issues were dire and created immediate attention. Others could be completed over years,” Berry said. “All of the completed issues have been funded by state grants, worked with a fiscally responsible budget, or paid for as projects with low interest borrowing. There’s currently much larger sections of deficient water infrastructure that remains unresolved, and it’s not reasonable that replacement over time is going to work.”
Village wide upgrade successes include chlorine contract on the North Well, Lincoln, Mill, and Charles Streets water main replacements, chlorination at both wells, installation of flow meters at both wells, inspection of the one million gallon storage tank, full electrical upgrade and draining and inspecting the 190 thousand gallon water tank. Water meters have been upgraded in about 85 percent of the village so far.
“There are some major replacements needed on Naples and Lackawanna streets,” McCarthy said. “We are working on the old reservoir lines from 1903 that are still in use today. Some areas were upgraded in the 1970s. The problem is many of these lines are four inches and limit the flow. The fire hydrants need at least six inch lines. Most of these hydrants are the originals, and they stopped making these brands.”
The fire hydrants were a main topic of concern, and have limited the water flow to fight fires.
These lines cause low fire flows and pressure, can no longer adapt to the surface grade heights, have lead and galvanized pipes, and many of the curb stops do not work.
McCarthy mentioned the ongoing issues that are creating a headache in the village.
“Repairs to broken water mains, services, and shut-offs are necessary and sometimes urgent. Working on these problems can cause an increase in pressure in other weak areas,” he said. “The restored pressures can cause failure in the next weakest location. These problems are going to increase, and become more severe. These problems will only stop once a significant repair has been made.”
Water loss includes 29 percent of the 99.5 million gallons pumped yearly. That is 29.5 million gallons a year, which is about $62,000 emptied in the ground.
McCarthy said that two years ago it was 61 percent water loss, so there has been an improvement since the small repairs. However, the village can no longer afford to put a band-aid on the problem.
“We are one catastrophe away from needing to isolate entire sections of the village in order to make repairs,” he said. “The village may have to supply portable water if there is a need to boil water. If this happens during a DOT highway the costs of the repairs will soar. The village may need to hire specialists to come in and take care of it.”
Hotaling said the important thing to take away from this presentation is the seriousness of the project, and the need to get the water system fixed as soon as possible.
“This impacts the entire community,” he said. “The important thing to take away from this is we can no longer battle the fire in the system. We need the necessary tools to be fully compliant in certain locations within the village.”
Hotaling said many other small towns are going through this same thing right now with outdated water systems. The fact that the village was able to get at least half of the project paid for in grants is impressive.
The village board has worked hand in hand with programs and professionals that can find the best solution to the problem.
The water system project should take effect this Spring and will take about 18 months to complete. The current funding would suggest 38 years to pay off. There is a need for 87 trees to be removed in the village for the upgrade to the water system. For some there will be tree replacements over time, but they must not be planted where the pipes are put in. The water pipes will go from being cast iron to being plastic.
Estimated annual charge per EDU is as follows: number of EDUs in the service area are 764, average annual debt service based on 38 years and 2.125 percent interest is $182,616.60, estimated annual debt service per EDU is $239.03, estimated annual charge per 50,000 gallons a year is $277.16.
Most of this started due to the project falling apart in 1974. It was clear 40 years ago that the water system was in need of serious action, and for whatever reason it was not fulfilled. However, some things were accomplished in that time to keep the water system going over the decades. In those days the project would’ve cost $810,000. Since it was never fixed it has became more of a challenge.
Many residents were more concerned about the 87 trees being taken down, and voiced their opinion as such. Many are worried about what this will mean for the overall function of the village. Others are upset that the village is no longer an appealing place to live, they said.
If you have any other questions or concerns about the project you can contact your local officials for a copy of the presentation.