Lead abatement

A crew with Mortimer’s Excavating work on a previous project for the Bradford Water Authority.

Starting Monday, those orange cones that seem to signify Pennsylvania’s summer will be populating East Main Street as the Bradford Water Authority’s lead abatement project begins there.

Executive Director Steve Disney said Mortimer’s Excavating will begin construction near East Avenue and proceed toward the intersection with Kendall Avenue.

“Most of this work is going to be in the street,” Disney said.

He acknowledged that with the road work on the U.S. Route 219 Bradford Bypass, travel may be slow-going around the city.

“They are going to be working Monday through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” Disney said of the Mortimer’s crew. They are expecting the project to go until the end of the year.

“If not, it could extend in the construction season of 23, if winter freezes us out,” he said. Until they get started with the project, it’s hard to tell how long each part will take.

“It’s unbelievable the buried assets in the ground you have to work around,” Disney said, explaining a lot of utilities are under the street.

When the work on East Main Street is completed, the crew will move to Burnside Avenue, then to Jerome Avenue, then Jackson Avenue, School Street and Cole Avenue before moving to Congress Street, Bedford Street and High Street.

“They have services they have to replace on South Avenue, too,” Disney said.

While the crews are working in the area, customers can expect some brief disruptions of water service. Customers who experience cloudy water are asked to allow their cold water taps to run for at least 15 minutes or until the conditions clear, Disney said.

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He added that drivers will experience temporary road closures and detours as necessary.

Disney reminded, “This is such a great project, it’s all grant and when it’s done the lead service lines are gone.”

The Water Authority was awarded an $8.52 million dollar grant in July of 2021 for lead service line replacements, funded by PENNVEST utilizing Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act (WIFTA) funds. The project, which includes the replacement of all known active lead service lines, was awarded to two contractors in January 2022, Mortimer’s Excavating from Pulaski, and Chivers Construction Company of Erie.

Mortimer’s Excavating was issued a Notice to Proceed effective May 20. However due to material shortages and supply issues regarding main line construction materials, they were unable to commence construction at that time.

Chivers Construction, which pertains solely to service lines and no main line replacement, was able to begin their construction activities in April. They have also experienced some service line material supply issues which caused them to revise their initial schedules around available materials.

Both contractors as well as authority personnel are still conducting door to door on-site inspections for all locations called out within this project. This includes inspections for all known lead service line locations and also all unknown service line locations that remain to be verified. The contractors and water authority employees will be driving their designated work vehicles and wearing high visibility designated construction crew clothing and ID badges during this process.

Customers are encouraged to assist in this project by allowing contractors access to inspect the incoming house line materials.

The lead abatement project includes the replacement of all known and discovered lead service lines and the replacement for portions of nine water mains. The water distribution mains chosen for replacement, have experienced frequent leaks and breaks, and also have a high percentage of lead service connections.

“The Water Authority is pleased with the progress so far, we appreciate everyone’s cooperation during this very important project,” commented Disney. “This project is funded with 100% grant funds meaning our customers will not have to carry this financial burden, and we’re not only replacing the affected service lines owned by the Authority, we are also replacing the affected service lines owned by the customers. This is a game changer.”

Customers with any questions can call the Water Authority offices at 814-362-3004 or email us at info@bradfordwater.com.

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