Salem plans to replace aging water lines - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Salem plans to replace aging water lines

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SALEM, Ohio -

The city of Salem is dealing with an increasing number of water line breaks because of an aging water line system.

Salem has 116 miles of water lines and some of them date back to the 1860s.

Because they are averaging more water line breaks than ever before — about 50 per year — they are looking at the costs of replacing rather than fixing.

One of the issues they are facing is replacing the worst lines when voters just passed a new tax to pave city streets.

Bob Hodgson, Salem Utilities Commission Chairman, says, "A lot of the lines go under the city streets and even the ones under the curb line, we bring a backhoe in, and we got pads going down, we've got weight, and we're digging and putting debris on the roadway, we're tearing up the street."

So it makes sense for the city to replace the lines before they pave, even though the voters passed a new tax thinking they would be paved sooner than later. New water lines may make that later.  

Matt Hoops, Assistant Superintendent for Utilities, says, "When the street resurfacing project was announced, we decided to prioritize where these leaks were based on which streets we listed to be repaved, so we have a list at a cost of $625,000 if we were to do them all before the paving."

Salem is hoping to get some grants to help pay for part of the project. The other money would come from a loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

The cost of the loan would be passed on to water customers.

And since the state needs to approve design engineering and funding for the project, the city may not be able to start digging until mid summer.

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