Groundbreaking

Members of the Bradford City Water Authority perform a ceremonial groundbreaking for a redundant water main installation project. From left are Terry Lopus, assistant secretary/treasurer; Bob Douglas, assistant treasurer/secretary; Thomas Arrowsmith, vice chairman; Steve Disney, executive director; Ron Orris, chairman; and Richard Luther, treasurer.

Sometimes an object is more than just a thing.

For the redundant water main that is ready to be installed in the Bradford area, it’s peace of mind to everyone who remembers the water crisis of 2015.

The Bradford City Water Authority held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to celebrate the start of the project.

“As we gather here today in the midst of a national emergency, I want to take you back a little over five years, to February of 2015, to a local state of emergency that was occurring due to the catastrophic break of the 24-inch supply transmission main on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford,” Steve Disney, authority executive director, told attendees.

When the transmission main — the “single main supply artery,” as Disney called it — broke, it left every customer without water for several days.

“Many of you were directly involved in the repairs and emergency command center activities,” said Disney. “I still cannot thank you all enough for the fantastic job you did to restore water service to our community. Our employees are the best in the business, and they prove that day in and day out.”

The installation of a redundant main means there will be a back-up in case of another break and prevent a similar days-long, system-wide water emergency.

“Once the new main is up and operational, should something happen to either one of the transmission mains, the other one could still provide water to the system,” Disney explained.

“Driving up here today, I’m sure you all felt as I did when you saw that blue pipe,” said Ron Orris, authority chairman. The sight, he said, was “so rewarding.”

He shared his appreciation to Disney, the board of directors and the authority employees for their support.

Orris talked about how the water authority made the decision early on to be “very transparent about this project” and what the cost was going to be. He and Disney agreed that neither received any complaints from people.

The $11.5 million project has been funded through a low-interest PENNVEST loan. Water rates increased by 45 cents for 1,000 gallons in both 2019 and 2020, and third increase is anticipated in 2021.

The two contractors, Mortimer’s Excavating Inc. out of Polaski and D & M Contracting Inc. of New Alexandria, were given notice that, effective Feb. 10, they had 300 days to have their portions of the project complete.

The new 24-inch main will go from the water treatment plant down West Corydon Street, Crookerhouse Lane, Lang Maid Lane, West Washington Street, Willard Avenue, Poplin Avenue, Brook Street, Abbott Road and Calvin Court, ending at Reservoir No. 4.

Mortimer’s is doing the section from the water treatment plant to the intersection of Lang Maid Lane and West Washington Street, and D & M will work from that intersection to Reservoir No. 4.

Once the new transmission main is completed, the authority will rehabilitate or replace the existing main, which was built in 1955, according to Disney.

He added, “While we know a project of this size and magnitude will bring new challenges and unforeseen issues, it is how we will all respond to those challenges that sets us apart from everyone else.”

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