The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

March 29, 2013

Windber replacing 8 miles of aging water pipe

WINDBER — For nearly 90 years, a cast iron, mostly above-ground pipeline has brought water to the Windber area.

And often just 10 to 15 feet from busy Route 160, it’s taken a beating from nature’s elements, misguided motorists and even a few fallen trees, Windber Area Authority Manager Dennis Mash said.

“We’ve had cars hit it, acid mine drainage flowing over top of it – you name it,” Mash said.

A $7 million project to retire those 8 miles of line was well under way this week in the Windber area.

Crews from Westmoreland County-based Kukurin Contracting Inc. were busy extending a new line from 17th Street toward Hillside Avenue.  

Several miles south, efforts were ongoing to replace the authority’s 1920s-era main transmission line with new 18-inch PVC pipe.

Mash said the line has held up well through the years but was showing its age. Minerals in the water have corroded some of the pipeline, causing it to sprout a few leaks.

“In five to 10 years we would’ve really had problems on our hands,” he said.

Not that having an above-ground water line didn’t lead to plenty of its own problems through the years, Mash said, recalling a time a logger cut down a tree that fell on a portion of the line.

“Just like that, we had a 50-foot geyser,” he said.

Windber’s line is a rarity, Mash said. He observed that water lines are typically built several feet underground.

But Windber’s was originally built by Berwind during King Coal’s heyday – at a time water was likely needed in short order to supply local operations.

The state Department of Environmental Protection wasn’t too keen on the fact that the line that supplies all of the authority’s 9,500 customers could be run over by a pick-up truck in some spots.

Mash said the authority was told the line had to be replaced sooner rather than later – and fortunately, when it came time to apply for a state loan to make the project happen, the response came in the form of a $9 million loan.

It was enough to replace the 8-mile line and extend a line from 17th Street to Hillside Avenue, which has dealt with water pressure problems for years.

"These projects are vital to the future health and well-being of citizens all across Pennsylvania and will serve as a lasting legacy to our children and grandchildren,” Gov. Tom Corbett said at the time of the funding announcement.

The authority raised rates $5 monthly for the average household to repay the loan.

The loan will be repaid over 20 years at 1 percent interest – “but generations of people in this area will benefit from it,” Mash added.

The Windber Area Authority is having the line installed along the same path as the current one, and just below it.

Mash said the work began in January.

Kukurin has a year to finish the project but has already completed about two miles of line.

“If all goes well, it could be finished by the fall,” he said.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/17/2014

    April 16, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads