Parkersburg Utility Board Approves Water Main Inventory Agreement | News, Sports, Jobs

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg Utility Board on Tuesday approved an agreement to work with a company to compile an inventory of materials used in the city’s water pipes.

The agreement is with 120Water of Zionsville, Ind., to work with the board to take inventory as part of the regulatory review of the Federal Lead and Copper Rule that was finalized in January 2021.

Due to the problems with lead water pipes experienced in Flint, Michigan a few years ago, communities across the country must take regular swabs from certain locations in their service area to test for lead and copper, said Eric Bennett, general manager of the Parkersburg Utilities Board.

Parkersburg conducts tests every three years.

“We have never had success because we are always within or below the specified range,” Bennett said. “We now need to catalog the inventory of all service lines.”

Officials have a good idea of ​​where some old plumb lines were, but records of exactly where these lines were originally laid have either been lost over time or didn’t exist initially. Bennett said.

An inventory will also be made of galvanized steel pipes, many of which were installed in the area up to the 1950s. If these lines are attached to lead pipes, they will be considered lead pipes in the inventory due to materials accumulated in the pipes.

Once they have the line inventory, they will have the means to do a lead line replacement program, officials said.

The city replaced plumb lines as they were found. The city does not replace lines in individual homes or properties, as this is the responsibility of the owner.

“We go to the property limit which covers our liability”, Bennett said. “We never found a common thread on the client side. We found galvanized lines.

Some lead pipes that could have reached demolished buildings would have been closed and may not have water flowing through them.

Part of working with 120Water will help inform homeowners if there are lead or galvanized lines around their homes.

Homeowners will receive surveys and be asked to take photos of their pipes to submit so that data can be built to try to identify what kind of lines are where.

120Water would use the data to perform predictive modeling to identify areas the PUB may need to consider in terms of possible line replacements. Crews would do spot digs to see if there was anything to replace.

Board members said many people don’t know what kind of lines they have.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said there should be ways to let the public know what’s going on via social media and other means, as well as plans to hold public meetings to explain the process.

“It’s going to be a lot for customers to understand, recognize and participate in,” he said.

120Water is a technical services company that helps government agencies, schools and utilities effectively plan, manage and communicate the results of water sampling programs, according to a letter from the company describing their services.

The company touted its cloud-based technology platform and complementary services to manage the full lifecycle of point-of-use water testing programs, the letter said.

“That’s what they do,” Bennett said, adding that the company does this work nationwide. The company has also worked with the cities of Wheeling and Clarksburg in West Virginia, he added.

The company has the computer systems, programs and personnel to do this work, Bennett said, adding that if the PUB tries to do it, it should hire someone to do it.

“It’s much cheaper for us to pay someone who already has the program in place,” he said.

The PUB will pay an annual subscription of $27,404 to 120Water, Bennett said. He believes they would use the system for at least two years.

The funding comes from $28 million in grants the state received in federal infrastructure funds, officials said.

The deal will still need to be approved by Parkersburg City Council.

In other matters, the council passed the 2022-23 budget. The budget is expected to bring in $16.3 million in revenue.

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