The massive water rehabilitation project continues to remake both the city and the municipal water system, according to the mayor of New England.
After tearing up the streets in order to replace the aging water system, the streets have been resurfaced and the improvements have been noticeable, Mayor Marty Opdahl said recently.
The project, which has been split into four phases, goes back about four years when the aging water system serving the city became a big problem for the resident.
“We were losing so much water pressure in town and our fire hydrants didn’t have the flow that was required,” the mayor said.
“We started investigating and we found out that some of the pipes were put in in the 1940s. They were cast iron and were too small. They were four-inch when they should have been six-inch, but there was corrosion because they were cast iron pipes.
“The corrosion was tremendous. The four-inch pipes were down to about an inch and a half in some places,” the mayor said.
“We were starting to have some breakage from the cast iron. As we did our investigation, we decided that the best route was instead of doing piecemeal repairs, we should replace the mains wherever we could,” he added.
The city hired Moore Engineering to find what would be the best solutions, he said.
“When it came back, we found it was really an expensive proposition.
“It is supposed to cost about $17 million to do this project. We decided the best option we had was to divide this into four different phases. These phases have followed one year right after another.
“The reason we divided it into phases was because we could use federal money grant and loan combinations to significantly lower the costs for the residents of New England,” the mayor added.
The overall project was broken down into smaller $5 million projects. “So far, we have been able to get probably $2.7 million in loans for the first two phases, and about $2.3 million in grants for each one. We were almost at 50 percent there at grant versus the loan money.
“This year, of the $5 million, we were able to get $4 million of grant money because the state stepped in too and gave us some grant money for the water tower phase of it.
“We are getting all of these improvements and getting them done probably at less than half the cost because of the grant money that we could get,” the mayor explained. “A huge benefit of this is that we are getting the streets repaired at the same time because there is no federal program to fix the streets. But, because we have to go under the streets to replace the water mains, we are getting our streets fixed too,” he said.
The city is nearing the finish of the third phase of the massive project, the mayor explained.
Much of the work replacing the mains on Main Street is over after tearing up the downtown thoroughfare. The area was still torn up through the middle of September, but it has already been completely resurfaced, the mayor pointed out.
Moore Engineering, based in West Fargo, has been handling the multi-phase project to replace and improve on the cast-iron water pipes which were about 70 years old in New England.
The first phase of the project included replacing 33 blocks of water mains, fire hydrants, gate valves, and water meters.
Phase two of the project was funded through Rural Development
Phase three includes more water main replacement and also the installation of a water tower to improve water pressure.
The water tower construction is already underway onsite near city hall, with the foundation already in place and lower parts of the structure already being assembled.
According to the mayor, the addition of the water tower will add to the water pressure. That part of the project will be completed in 2019.
A fourth phase is in the planning stages, but is on hold right now, according to a Moore Engineering spokesman.
The overall project started in November 2015.