Livingston water project ongoing

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comAugust 2, 2012 

MS Livingston

MARCI STENBEREG/mstenberg@mercedsunstar.com New water pipes have already replaced the old water pipes in one of the back alleys, Thursday, (08-02-2012) in Livingston.

MARCI STENBERG — Merced Sun-Star

The city is underway with phase two of its water pipeline replacement, a step that’s expected to greatly improve water quality for residents.

Workers labored through the 102-degree heat Thursday as they made progress on the project, which is on time and on budget, according to Tim Davis, foreman of California Trenchless Inc., the company doing the work.

Davis said once the work is done, water pressure and water quality will improve for residents. “They should notice a substantial difference,” he said.

Councilman Gurpal Samra agrees. He said the first two phases of the city’s water pipeline replacement are addressing the worst pipelines, which he referred to as “the offenders.”

When the city completed phase one of the project, Samra said there was a noticeable improvement to many homes. After the city completes phase two, most of the brown tap water residents have complained about will be resolved.

The latest round of pipeline replacement is expected to wrap up in two months.

Spike in rust

During construction, some residents have complained about discolored water, Samra noted. But he added that the small spike in water quality issues is simply because the construction is knocking loose some of the rust from older pipes that have been responsible for years of water problems.

The current phase of the city's pipeline replacement will cost about $1.3 million. That money is coming from the water enterprise fund.

The final phase of the project, which city officials hope will be completed within the next five years, is expected to cost about $2 million.

On average, water pipelines in Livingston are about 70 years old. Most of the brown water is caused by rust and scaling in the pipes.

A rotten-egg smell some residents have complained about has to do with how the water is chlorinated, but city officials say that problem has been fixed.

The new pipelines are made of PVC.

Samra said the push to improve water is a long-term commitment.

"This goes back to what the council said -- we're going to make water quality our No. 1 priority, and we're staying true to our word," Samra said.

He also made a light-hearted prediction about the demand for Livingston's water once the pipelines are replaced.

"I wouldn't be surprised to get some bottled water companies in Livingston," Samra said.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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