WEIRTON - As a project to prevent a major water outage is moving forward, contractors will be testing the waters, so to speak, with the new pipes.
Crews began to mobilize at the city's water plant in March as new pipes were being laid into the ground to establish an alternate route to get water distributed to residents in the hope of preventing another major water outage like the one seen last year.
Jonathan Carpenter of Thrasher Engineering said Welding Inc., the same company working on the Wellsburg water project, was on site working to tie a new pipe into the system. He said there had been a temporary shut down of the plant earlier this month to connect the 24-inch line and valve, which has been placed next to the current line, to the water plant.
"Work is being done continuously and we hope to have the line pressure tested soon," he added.
Utilities Director Butch Mastrantoni said the old 18-inch line will not be touched at the moment. He said once the parallel line has been chlorinated, it can be put into service and then the second phase of the project can move forward.
According to Mastrantoni, the board will receive a $50,000 grant to be used for engineering costs associated with replacing the existing line, the second phase of the project, which has been in use since the 1960s.
While the grant would not serve as reimbursement for the expenditures associated with the project thus far, it could be used in a later phase of the project. The first phase is expected to establish a parallel line near the ground's surface for a portion of the water line, and the larger project will come in a later phase to address the entire line going to the city.
The first of a series of payments was issued for the project on Thursday.
In other business, Assistant Director Sam Stoneking reported the Mosaic Firefly Pilot Study on the city's water system has been operating on schedule. He said after initial problems, some adjustments had to be made.
The Firefly devices allow a new option in gathering data from water meters in the city, with the goal of utility staff being able to more easily detect leaks in the system. The system allows water board employees to monitor the water lines in real time. Before the implementation of the system, it would normally take 60 days to discover a leak and a large bill and water loss associated with it; now, according to staff, it can be discovered within 24 to 48 hours.
The cost of the pilot program is approximately $22,000, which has been budgeted for the next fiscal year.