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St. Clairsville Officials Race Winter Weather in Replacing Main Waterline

Photo Provided - St. Clairsville Safety and Service Director Jeremy Greenwood reviews the city’s waterlines. He said progress is being made on water projects including a new permanent main waterline. He hopes to have Ohio Department of Transportation permits in hand and the line in place before winter.

Reliable water service through the winter in St. Clairsville remains in question despite the Ohio Department of Transportation’s approval of a city plan to run a new permanent main waterline through a culvert under Interstate 70.

When city employees discovered the main line from the water treatment plant was leaking, workers changed over to a temporary waterline along Reservoir Road in August. However, Service and Safety Director Jeremy Greenwood does not wish to take the risk of running water through the line that lies atop the surface during winter months. The city hopes to run the new permanent line through the old line’s culvert under I-70 to save time and money.

So far, more than $800,000 has been spent on the project, Greenwood said

“We’re waiting on just getting permits now. Once we have the permits we’ll be able to proceed with the project,” he said.

Greenwood added he did not know when those permits would be received, and he noted the local area had its first snowfall two weeks ago.

“We’re at ODOT’s mercy with that,” Greenwood said. “We got (Environmental Protection Agency) approval … but we’re waiting on ODOT.”

Greenwood said once the paperwork is received the city must determine if the current casing can be used for a new line.

“Once we get approval from ODOT it’s going to be a back and forth,” he said. “I’m hoping it’s going to be a week-or-two process.

“We already have the waterlines in our stock, and a contractor was able to get some of those already. We’re just waiting on ODOT and then it’s going to be kind of a wait-and-see game of how bad is that culvert? Is it bad? Is it going to be OK? Are we going to be able to do Plan A or are we going to have to adjust and go to Plan B?”

If the culvert is not an option, it will be necessary to drill under the interstate and install new casement, with increased cost.

Greenwood is confident in the city’s ability to maintain water service through the winter.

“With all of the water coming through the pipe and the thickness of the pipe, I’m not worried about freezing until we get about sub Arctic weather. If that happens, our plan is to get some heat tape and put on the section that goes across the bridge (above I-70), because that would be the section that is most vulnerable because it would be totally exposed to the cold from above and below. The sections that are in the ground and on the ground, I’m not as worried about. I would much rather get the project done and not be paying to have traffic control over a bridge that is just sitting there.”

A 400-foot section of new waterline was also installed past the BellStores fueling station at 418 S. Marietta St. The station is currently being upgraded and expanded.

“They’re going to try and have the store open by the end of next month,” Greenwood said. “Our pipe’s already in the ground. They’re going to do their tap for the new building on Monday.”


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