Helper City is getting ready to launch its first project in eight years to upgrade its aging water system. In about two weeks, work will begin on installing an eight-inch line to serve the commercial-industrial area on the south end of town.
Councilman Gary Harwood said Thursday the 1,300 feet of new PVC pipe will replace the 1.5 inch pipe that now is the conduit for about nine businesses in the area.
At its last meeting, the council decided to go ahead with the $40,000 project after hearing that the old pipe is not adequate to handle the growth anticipated at Waste and Water Logistics. WWL owner Jesse McCourt told the council that his trucks haul water to oil and gas rigs as far away as Roosevelt and demand is growing.
Currently those trucks are carrying about 12,000 gallons per week to distant customers. McCourt said that could go to 36,000. The smaller pipe would not be able to handle that volume and still provide adequate flow to other customers along the line.
Last month, the city finalized its new fee structure, which is designed to provide a base of funding to improve its culinary water system. Many of the underground pipes were installed 50 years ago or longer and have been sprouting leaks on nearly a weekly basis.
Mayor Dean Armstrong noted last year that the emergency repairs had been soaking up money that would be better spent fixing the underlying problem. Armstrong repeated that point at the Feb. 3 council meeting, adding infrastructure improvements make economic development feasible and also help reduce business expenses on commercial fire insurance.
The city has since been working with engineering consultants to work up an overall plan for improvements on its water, sewer and storm drainage.