Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

July 24, 2012

Aging lines

Infrastructure upgrade welcomed

— — Aging water lines in the cities of Bluefield and Princeton are finally being replaced as part of a welcomed infrastructure upgrade project by West Virginia American Water.

The $120,000 project in downtown Bluefield will replace a water main installed in the 1930s. When the project is completed, residents and businesses in the downtown area are expected to see improved water pressure and service, according to Laura Jordan, an external affairs manager with West Virginia American Water.

The project in downtown Bluefield includes the installation of 1,700 feet of 8-inch water main as well as replacing the old cast iron water main that was installed in the 1930s.

Jordan said the goal of the project is to provide more reliable water service to downtown Bluefield.

“Basically, the benefit to the customers, besides the replacement of older infrastructure, is the increased water flow for the entire downtown Bluefield area,” Jordan said. “The larger pipes will increase fire flow downtown and the availability of water in case of a fire. The water service will be more reliable. We want to lessen the likelihood of water main breaks by replacing infrastructure that has reached the end of its usefulness.”

A second infrastructure improvement project is also underway in the New Hope Road area near Princeton that will replace a water main from the 1940s. The $100,000 project extends from Morrison Drive to Guard Drive and then to the New Hope Road area. The project will extend 2,200 feet and includes the installation of new fire hydrants as well.

Archaic water lines are problematic for a number of reasons, including leaks, loss of water pressure and main water line breaks. And improved water pressure is of particular importance when it comes to fighting fires.

That’s why the replacement of these aging systems is of critical importance to both Bluefield and Princeton.

Water, sewer and broadband are the critical building blocks of economic development. Without such modern infrastructure in place, localities cannot hope to compete for new business and industry growth. The improved fire flow and water pressure for Bluefield and Princeton will help in making both localities more competitive.

Unfortunately, there is aging infrastructure across the region in need of replacement or repair. This includes not only water lines, but also roads, bridges and sewer lines. There is still much work to be done.

However, the West Virginia American Water infrastructure upgrade project is an important first step.

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