BY THE NUMBERS
Aqua PA- Honesdale Division
25,000 people served
2.1 million gallons used daily
227 miles of pipe
56 deep wells
2,403 wastewater connections
8,984 water connection
$9.3 million expected in 2017 in capital projects
HAWLEY - Aqua Pennsylvania officials, Thursday, August 31, spoke of the water main line replacement project underway in Hawley and the importance of addressing aging infrastructure to their customers, communities and local economy.
Highlighting what the need to address aging water pipes found under our streets, Aqua officials showed off samples of rusted cast iron piping, brittle and clogged with minerals.
Catching the most interest was a deteriorated wooden water pipe that was dug up in Waymart about 20 years ago.
They met at the corner of Main Avenue and River Street in Hawley for the presentation, while their contractor, Leeward Construction, continued work just up the street. Borough officials, Hawley Fire Chief Scott Mead, State Rep. Mike Peifer, Andrew Seder for Senator Lisa Baker and Debbie Gillette, director of the Chamber of the Northern Poconos, were among those gathered to hear what is being done to improve water service. Accompanying Aqua PA were representatives of Leeward and Entech Engineering.
Patrick R. Burke, Director of Operations for Aqua PA, said that the nationwide problems with aging infrastructure is unfortunately felt most in small towns like Hawley.
Marc A. Lucca, President of Aqua PA, stated that last year, 136 miles of pipe were replaced in their service territory state-wide, about 36 in the Honesdale Divison. The result, he said is improved water quality for their customers, and fewer water main breaks and disruptions to service.
“What we know is, communities just like Hawley cannot thrive… businesses cannot sustain in a thriving environment… without a solid water infrastructure,” Lucca said. “We know that for a fact, and we are very proud to be here today to show you the project we have.”
Lucca, referred to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that $384 billion is needed to replace thousands of miles of pipes and thousands of treatment plants, storage tanks, and other infrastructure that is vital to public health and the economy through 2030.
He also referred to the “D” grade given to the nation’s water systems by the American Society of Civil Engineers in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. “We simply cannot have that,” Lucca added. “That’s not something that can ever happen on our watch.”
As much as 6 billion gallons of water a day is wasted, that never reaches the faucet.
Century old pipes
Steve Clark, who manages the Honesdale District, said that the project in Hawley involved replacing 1,560 feet of cast iron pipe, dating from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. This venerable pipe system, which has served Hawley for over a century, has been prone to leaking and reduced flows at fire hydrants. Cast iron pipe is relatively strong and resilient, he said, but can become brittle and rusts easily. Corrosion builds up inside, which allows minerals to build up.
Six inch-diameter cast iron pipes were replaced with eight inch ductile iron piping, a superior material.
The new system is expected to be more reliable, and less susceptible to breaks when the ground natural heaves.
A similar upgrade was completed in Honesdale in recent years.
The present Hawley work, which cost around $360,000, involved main line on Main Avenue and parts of Keystone and Spring streets. Service lines to customers, going from the main line to the customers’ connections at the curb, are also being replaced with new copper pipe.
Prior to the transfer of service from the old lines to the new lines, the system will undergo a disinfection process. It is expected that all of the work will be completed by the end of October.
Other nearby projects that have been competed include replacing 5,000 feet of line in Tanglwood Lakes Association, and 4,200 feet of lines in two projects within Paupacken Lake Estates.
By the end of the year, the Honesdale Division is expected to have spent approximately $9.3 million in service improvements. In Hawley Borough alone, in five years time, about $3.5 million has been spent.
Water lines have been replaced in other neighborhoods in Hawley in recent years. A section on Route 6, Bellemonte Avenue also needs to be addressed, but must be worked out with PennDOT as it is a difficult section with the rock cut. Almost all of the pipes in Hawley have been replaced, Clark said.
Aids fire protection
Good news for the community in terms of fire protection are the new nozzles that are being attached to hydrants on the streets where the work is being done. These upgraded nozzles allow firefighters to save precious time in attaching a hose. In addition, the flow is expected to be much better because of the new lines.
In the past, water flows in the borough have been improved from 200 gallons per minute (gpd) to 500 gpd. The new main line will permit flows of 1,500 gpd, Clark said.
Keith Corey is the Operations Manager for Aqua PA in Hawley, and is also President of the Hawley Fire Department.
Mayor Kevin Hawk thanked the Aqua PA officials for having a game plan to address the borough’s infrastructure.
Rep. Mike Peifer noted that infrastructure in general, including roads, bridges as well as water lines, is “terrible” in northeastern Pennsylvania. Acknowledging the temporary inconvenience to motorists who have to maneuver through construction zones, he commented that it “has to be done” and they are proud of what Aqua PA is doing.
Burke stated that they like to have this opportunity to explain to the public, their rate-payers as well as local officials, about what they do. He noted that generally the public’s awareness comes through being directed by flaggers as they drive past the work crews.
As far as the wooden pipes go, none are presently in service. Corey stated that in Hawley Borough, the old lines are made of cast iron. He said he was told the only wooden pipe was a line that served horse watering troughs, from a spring. The oldest cast iron pipe they dug out, he said, was from 1890, on Columbus Avenue.
Aqua Pennsylvania’s Honesdale Division (which includes Hawley) serves a population of more than 25,000 people in Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties. Overall, the company serves approximately 1.4 million people in 32 counties throughout Pennsylvania.
Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.