Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Madysen McLain
Gazette Reporter 

Work on water mains now underway in Rosalia


May 16, 2019

New water pipes can be seen on Fairview Street as a construction crew works to replace the old ones.

Construction on replacement of water lines in Rosalia commenced last week.

Layne Merritt, J-U-B Engineers area manager, said the project received funding to replace water pipes that run from Fairview Street to Fourth Street, and down to the Rosalia School.

He said the water line part of the project is on track to be completed in early June, with the total project to be finished by the middle of June.

DW Excavating is contractor for the water line part of the project. A contract has not been issued for the sewer lines.

Rosalia City Clerk Barb Leighton said Rosalia received grant funding to replace water lines from the Department of Commerce Community Development Block Program.

She also said Rosalia was awarded a $3,238,221 grant and a $3,656,353 loan from the Department of Ecology State Revolving Fund and Centennial Clean Water Fund to replace sewer lines in the town.

The loan is planned to be repaid over 20 years with a 1.8 percent interest rate.

"This project has been in the works for several years," Leighton said.

The water line replacement project is separate from the sewer line replacement project.

Ninth District Rep. Joe Schmick said he made the request to fund this project to lower the overall price of resident's sewer and water bills.

He said he utilized capital budget money for the project

Rep. Mary Dye said Rosalia citizens wrote letters to her stating the need for upgrades to their pipes and already have high rates for their water bills.

"In a rural community, it's hard to find money for major infrastructure projects," Dye said. "The whole town has had failures, like flooding and street closures."

During her trip, she said she realized the upgrades were something the town needed and were way past due for water line improvements.

According to Merritt, a fourth of the water line project is completed, which does not include additional work that could be added based on received funding. That work would be finished next year.

The additional construction would include finalizing upgrades to help the water system.

Construction to replace water lines began last week. Construction equipment carries the new water pipes up the street to put them in the ground.

"The larger main pipes will be in good shape to resolve operational issues," Merritt explained.

Merritt said a service line in downtown Rosalia ruptured during the first week of construction due to the water main's age.

He also said the water system must be shut down during construction. The pipe broke during that process because there was additional pressure further up on the line and strain on service areas.

"When we get done with the project, those issues will be corrected," Merritt said.

Merritt added construction includes valving to help the flow of water and prevent the pressure system from breaking another pipe.

Over the years, Rosalia service lines will need to be upgraded as they stop working, he said.

"After this project, we anticipate there will be no more pressure problems," Merritt said. "These are much needed replacements."


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