Town of Porter residents learned the details this week on the expected impacts from the Town of Porter’s nearly $6.8 million water line replacement project that is now in planning.
As reported in the March 17 Tribune-Sentinel, the project entails the replacement of close to 15,000 linear feet of waterlines impacting five neighborhood areas. One information session took place Tuesday at Town Hall for Lower River Road-Youngstown Estates residents, with another held Wednesday for residents in the Parker Road, St. Christopher Lane and Meadow/Manner drive neighborhoods.
Supervisor John “Duffy” Johnston was joined by town officials; Rob Klavoon, senior civil engineer and principal for Wendel; and a number of Wendel design team associates. Residents learned more about the replacements, the process and the impacts. A Q&A with information tables followed at both sessions.
“This is a huge project, it should have done 10 years ago,” Johnston said Tuesday. “It’s an old water line. Lewiston did theirs and (it’s now resulting in) more pressure for us. We’re going to have breaks” that we would have to deal with.
Klavoon discussed major elements of the project that would impact roughly 95 parcels in the Lower River Road-Youngstown Estates neighborhood, and another 85 parcels in areas on the town’s eastern end. For properties on the east side of Lower River Road, it involves replacing the existing 12-inch CIP trunk lines, which flow north from the Town of Niagara and Lewiston, with new 12-inch PCV piping.
In Youngstown Estates, this would involve replacement of 6-inch cast-iron piping dating from the 1950s and ’60s with 8-inch PVC lines on a four-block quadrant.
“The 6-inch (and 12-inch) water lines don’t meet current standards,” Johnston said. “The volume you get through here and the fire pressures – we want to be able to improve that.”
He said the town is dealing with an estimated 25% water loss from the old pipes. The new PVC lines have a 100-year life expectancy and would provide for better water quality to users not only to the affected neighborhoods, but throughout the town.
Focusing on Lower River-Youngstown Estates, Klavoon said initial work would see 6-inch soil boring done every 500 feet at the edge of the pavement in front of residences. Actual placement water lines would see the digging of 3-foot wide trenches in front of the residences. The water line replacements would involve an area running parallel off the roadway. They are not expected to impact other utility service lines fronting the property.
“Our challenge as part of the design team is to contend with the existing utility and the existing boundary that we’re allowed to work within, and put the new waterline service, all while keeping your water (service) going,” Klavoon said. This entails installing new lines while keeping individual water services active. “So we can’t take the old water line out of service until the new water line and all the services are transferred over.”
Other factors involve working around the limitations of highway boundaries on Lower River, the presences of existing sanitary sewers that service homes, as well as electrical utility lines overhead.
Klavoon said there would be inconveniences to property owners ranging from access to individual driveways, to impacts on a number of mature trees fronting properties on Lower River. Also, possible easements on properties that impact highway boundaries.
“We want to do our best to mitigate any impact on trees. … We have this very tight corridor where we try to do our very best to work within without impacting private property,” he said. “As far as tree avoidance and removal, we got a bunch of different options.
On involves their location the need for removal. “We want to get your feedback on whether you want those trees to remain, or whether you us to take them down in order to facilitate the water main installation,” he said.
Klavoon said the impact on trees is due to actual waterline installations, which impact an area 12 inches in diameter for placement of the water line and an expanded trench work area totaling 3 feet around the line.
“On either side (of the water line), we put 1 foot of stone … to cradle the water line there’s no issues (with installing it) and to protect it,” he said.
Discussing mitigation options, Klavoon said one involves the removal of trees, where the property owner would receive two young trees for every mature one taken out. The contractor plant would plant new trees on the property, which would carry a two-year warranty. Another option would have the resident get the new trees delivered, and they could choose their own location for planting; however, no warranty would be provided.
Yet another option would involve tree boring, where the contractor would need to dig a 20-foot-wide-by-40-foot pit to under the existing tree accommodate it, followed by placement of the waterline underneath.
“Not a cheap option,” Klavoon said.
He stressed Wendel consultants are at currently 60% percent in the design phase, and their final determinations on a number of areas have not been made for the project.
The information session on Tuesday was intended to seek resident input to a number of issues presented, and to guide Wendel on the actual construction.
Other topics included the aforementioned easements (one being a 16-month temporary easement for installation, the other a permanent situation for water service); the use of blacktop versus concrete on driveway aprons; and installation of fire hydrants that would also be part of the project.
Klavoon said he anticipated a construction timeline of up to one year for this phase of the project, with work to be done weekdays. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2024 and conclude in 2025.
All residents who signed in are included on a list for periodic construction updates by Wendel.
Residents are invited to provide additional input as the design process continues.
For more information, Klavoon can be contacted at [email protected] or 716-668-0766.