Rogers Hydrant Service at work on a project.

Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities officials during the August meeting voted to increase the funds allotted per year to maintain and repair hydrants throughout the county. LCBPU will boost the amount spent annually from $5,000 to $7,500 per year until all of them are repaired.

“Hundreds needed repair,” stated Chris Merz, LCBPU superintendent. Over the past couple of years a number of hydrants have been repaired, but approximately 300 additional hydrants need fixing, though some are in need of very minor repairs. Roger’s Hydrant Service has been hired to perform the maintenance, and flow tests on hydrants will be done in coordination with Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). Merz stated that EMA will pay for the flow testing portion. The water system plans to allot $7,500 per year until all of the hydrants are repaired, and then continue the cycle of maintenance.

Merz reported that water loss was at an all-time low at 32 percent for the county.  He gave credit to the workers who are tracking leaks with the flow data they collect from the new meters that have been installed on the lines.

“Thirty-two is probably the lowest we’ve had,” stated Bob Ramsey, engineer.

“Customer density probably lends itself to some of the leak problems,” Merz said, noting that LCBPU likely has half as many people per mile as most rural water systems do.

In other discussion, Debra Sowder, office manager, stated that LCBPU’s annual audit is underway for both water and sewer entities. She said that over $1 million in AMI meter replacements, maintenance and repair will be capitalized as well as fuel, vehicles, machines and anything else used toward the AMI project.

Board action included officials voting to declare approximately 3,500 old water meters as surplus. LBPU crews will have replaced more than 5,000 meters to date and, by the time the AMI project is finished, will have replaced approximately 9,300 old meters.

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