Same story…different day. A waterline break on Sunrise Avenue in Portsmouth Monday night just brought a terrible issue into focus again. A huge gaping hole had to be created to repair the break and workers were kept busy Tuesday trying to get the job done.
“It’s a 30 inch water main,” Aaron Smith of the Portsmouth Water Department said. “They’re trying to get it replaced. It’s aging and needs replaced. (City Manager) Derek (Allen) is working on getting it replaced – hopefully in the near future”
Unfortunately this is not the first break this year and most likely won’t be the last.
“Old age, extreme high temperatures, the whole gamut,” Portsmouth Waterworks Director Sam Sutherland said.
On June 10, the City Waterworks Director Sam Sutherland, Community Development Director Tracy Shearer, and City Manager Derek K. Allen traveled to Columbus and made a presentation to apply for $2 million of Army Corps 594 funds. The primary objective of the Section 594 Program is to provide design and construction assistance to non-Federal interests for carrying out water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects in the state of Ohio.
“What we’re in the process of doing now is trying to obtain some funding,” Sutherland said. “We’re going to pull a liner through that pipe, and essentially, instead of digging up the street, laying a whole new pipe, and having to replace the asphalt and all that, if it works out the way we’ve got it planned with the engineers, we’ll be able to just do several small holes, pull a liner through the middle of that pipe, reconnect everything and you will essentially have a new pipe inside this old one.”
Allen, who said the total cost should be around $3 million, said it’s the city’s intent to get $2 million of grant funding to the city of Portsmouth for the replacement of the (water) line.
“We’ve been in discussion for several weeks now about applying for Appalachian Regional Commission or ARC funding, making application to the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) for Issue 2 (called Issue 1 now) money. Also our CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) formula money,” Allen said.
Allen went on to say the city is applying for $500,000 in CDBG funding, a new revenue source the city had not tapped into before. Allen estimates the total cost of the project to be around $3 million.
He said it was during the presentation the city found out in order to qualify and to push it forward, the project had to be designed, but since the city does not have $200,000 readily available in it’s Water Fund, it will need to apply for an Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) planning, or design, loan. The application is due July 1, 2016 and the current interest rate for OWDA planning loan assistance is approximately three percent.
Meanwhile, dealing with the issue at hand, city workers were busying themselves trying to just repair the latest break.
“We’ll have to cut this section out and replace it,” Smith said.
The project consists of over a mile of 30-inch waterline, the line that feeds the Sunrise Reservoir which has a 22-million gallon capacity.