Visible public infrastructure such as roads and bridges often garner raised awareness and attention – particularly undergoing repair or replacement.
Missouri American Water acknowledged and challenged this reality by highlighting invisible infrastructure for ‘Infrastructure Week’ in June 2019.
They pulled public attention and focused it on a simple water main replacement project located in Affton.
Call Newspapers reports:
“Water infrastructure is often a misunderstood topic. Many of us take it for granted, and most people are unaware of just how much it impacts daily life,” Russell said in a news release. “This is why it is so important to take part in generating awareness… We are building for tomorrow by educating our community now, with the hopes that everyone will keep the topic top of mind for years to come.”
Repairing a broken main is often more costly than replacing it, said Russell. It is more cost-effective to place a new water main line next to the old main pipe, or across the street from the old main, rather than repairing the old main itself.
“When the main pipe is replaced, the new one is laid next to the old main and the old main is left in the ground and decommissioned. In the project along Fatima Drive, the 6-inch main is being retired and replaced with an 8-inch main.”
It’s important to raise public awareness of the crucial and significant role that water infrastructure plays in daily life, not only just during one dedicated ‘Infrastructure Week’ but every day.
It is great that Missouri American Water has led the way – other utilities should get on board this bandwagon and help their customers see why water infrastructure investment is so significant.
Missouri American Water continues to replace aging pipes in St. Louis and across the state.
Businesswire reports in March 2021 that the water utility company invested $2.2 million to replace approximately 3,700 feet of old water lines in Creve Coeur, St. Louis. These water lines were originally installed in the 1920s.
In 2020, the company invested more than $100 million to replace nearly 90 miles of aging water pipes in the region as part of its initiative to speed up replacing pipes past their useful lives.
Fox 2 reports that the company is replacing more than 3 miles of watermains along North Ballas road in St. Louis. The project is expected to continue through December this year.
Another report by Businesswire says that 3100 feet of aging water lines along Big Bend Boulevard were also replaced by a new ductile iron main. This investment is part of the $15 million water infrastructure investment plan that will last through 2023.
American Water announced in May this year that approximately 1400 feet of water pipes dating back to 1954 in St. Joseph City will be replaced by the utility company to improve the city’s water service reliability and fire protection.
Jody Carlson, Senior Manager of Missouri American Water, says that “our customers depend on us to deliver quality water and reliable service every day and we must continue to invest in water system improvements to replace pipes that have outlived its useful life to limit service interruptions.”
From an infrastructure manager’s viewpoint, it is good to see utility authorities running proactive pipe renewal programs as this aligns with good infrastructure management practice.