No rate increases are coming to Aqua Ohio customers as a result of the improvements meant to cut down on the number of waterlines breaking and improve water service.

MASSILLON  While road closures and detours can cause headaches for many motorists this time of year, ongoing construction projects eventually equate to smoother roads and upgrades to waterlines.

Aqua Ohio is in the process of installing 22,000 feet of new linear pipe in portions of Massillon, Perry Township and the city of Green. Water mains on tap for replacement range in age from 50 to 90 years old, according to Jeff LaRue, a spokesman for Aqua.

The Massillon and Perry projects are replacing old cast-iron pipe beneath roads with new, 8-inch ductile iron lines, said LaRue, adding that the new pipe has a lifespan of 80 to 90 years. In Green, he said pipe is being installed to provide water service to 48 households that presently have private wells.

Existing customers won't see any change in their bills as a result of the work, which is paid for under current water rates, LaRue said.

"There are no rate hikes coming in the near future," he said.

In addition, water service will not be interrupted during the construction process, as existing waterlines will continue to route water to homes until the new pipes are connected and activated. Detours are being posted along some roads where work is ongoing.

Repairing waterline breaks has become an ongoing problem, according to LaRue, who said instead of bandaging leaks within older pipes, sometimes replacing the entire section is the way to go.

Aqua Ohio's area manager, Keith Nutter, said in addition to reducing the number of waterline breaks, improving water service is another reason for the upgrades.

"Our goals are to replace water mains where breaks have become problematic, and improve service reliability and water flows for high demand events like firefighting," Nutter said in a news release. "We're glad to get these projects underway in neighborhoods where ... occasional discoloration from old, cast iron pipes have frustrated neighbors."

Aqua Ohio provides drinking water and wastewater utility service to about 500,000 customers in 17 Ohio counties.

Pipe upgrades in Massillon began in early April, and all projects are expected to be finished by mid-October, according to LaRue, who said work in Perry Township is slated to begin in late June or early July.

Unspecified work to fix or replace additional water lines is planned for next year in Massillon, LaRue said.

Fire hydrants

Along with increasing the size of the pipe in the ground, 40 new fire hydrants will replace old ones as part of all four projects, La Rue said, which will improve the speed and capacity of water that can assist firefighters when battling a fire.

Overall, Massillon is receiving 19 new hydrants, while Perry is slated for 11, LaRue said. Ten hydrants are heading to Green.

Reach Steven at 330-775-1134 or at steven.grazier@indeonline.com.
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