By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda Common Council is considering a pilot program for a section of its antiquated water lines that could have sweeping implications for its current codes.
A measure for a trial run on a housing development at the Villas at Deerwood on Walck Road, suggested by its current contractor, could save the city up to 40 percent by replacing the standard cast iron pipes with plastic, the use of which is increasingly common in the area, according to City Engineer Dale Marshall.
As it stands, the code requires the use of only ductile iron piping, which is a form of cast iron.
While full figures have yet to be released specifically related to the Villas project, Marshall said 1,000 feet of water lines would run in the neighborhood of $110,000, while using plastic piping would cost $60,000 to $70,000.
Most council members appeared poised to back the pilot program, with a possible vote coming as early as next week.
The city is looking to shave costs when replacing the 120 miles of water lines in the city, most of which are between 75 and 100 years old.
“You’re putting something in the ground you’re never going to have to look at again,” Marshall said.
Council President Rich Andres, who is serving as acting mayor this week while Mayor Rob Ortt is on vacation, said that the city needs to formulate a long-term plan to update the water line infrastructure, which would likely be done over 20 years. He said with a only a “skeleton crew” devoted to repairing damaged lines, the city continues to put “Band-Aids on the system” which he said is less cost-effective in the long run.
Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka, who represents the area where the possible pilot would take place, said the contractor told the council there would be a 50-year guarantee for the plastic piping, though its expected to last at least 100 years.
In addition, he said, Department of Public Works chief Brad Rowles already has experience using the plastic piping during his tenure with the Town Tonawanda.
Alderman-At-Large Mal Needler said he’d feel comfortable using the Villas as a testing ground, though if approved he would like to revisit the issue next year for a possible amendment to the code.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.