North Tonawanda to consider PVC PILOT Program
If passed by the council, a suggested trial run for installation would take place at the Villas at Deerwood on Walck Road. With regards to this specific project and the 50-year guarantee of the PVC piping after its in the ground, this would save the city approximately 40 percent in costs over the period of 20 years, with consideration to the piping being installed correctly.
“When you replace infrastructure like this, you want to put it in the ground for 75 to 80 years,” said City Engineer Dale Marshall.
Neighboring towns such as Amherst, the Town of Tonawanda and Hamburg have already replaced their inadequate water lines with plastic piping and have found that the replacement was worth it.
In the past, the city has replaced faulty lines with Cast Iron and Ductile Iron piping. According to Marshall, the advantage of Ductile is its strength, and the disadvantages are its slickness. Another disadvantage to the current pipes is the accumulation of debris.
Currently the city code requires the use of Ductile Iron piping. With that, the code would have to be amended by City Attorney Shawn Nickerson in order for the Department of Public Works (DPW) to move forward with the installment.
Marshall stated the advantage to moving forward with plastic pipes is that it’s cost effective and easier to install.
“This would be new for us, I am not saying no to this,” said Marshall. “The good thing for the city is that perhaps when the city is looking at budgets and they want to do more water mains, they can stretch the dollars further and replace more water mains.”
Marshall told the council they should start considering replacing some of the water mains in the city. There is approximately 120 miles of water mains and on average it’s 100 years old.
Marshall and Superintendent of Public Works Brad Rowles are confident they could move forward and install the piping correctly. They hope to train their city crews and get them up to speed for a successful installation process.
Rowles, who conducted some research of his own, stated that according to The American Water Works Association, “PVC accounts for nearly have the water lines being installed in New York State.”
“Ductile Iron is a great product. The problem that I am starting to see is that we are repairing a lot of Ductile Iron,” said Rowles. “And when you get into the roads or where you cross the street, I would really like to see that pipe replaced so we don’t have to revisit it again. When you look at the cost of the asphalt and the cost of repairing a road it’s expensive.”
The only negative side to moving forward with the use of plastic piping is that the city is not currently prepared to repair any breaks if that were to occur. However, the use of the plastic pipes would hopefully help avoid breaks in the lines.
“The good things is, with the amount that’s out there and the amount of interchangeability, it will make this fairly simple,” said Rowles. “I think this is a good test program. We are going to be able to save money and get it in-house.”
Alderman Mal Needler suggested revisiting the PILOT Program in one-year to determine the condition of the piping. This would ultimately determine whether the city would move forward with further installments or not.
The council is expected to vote on the matter at the next council meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16 at City Hall, 216 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda.