Collinsville to replace 113-year-old water main

News-DemocratJuly 24, 2013 

— City workers soon will replace a water main that has lasted since horse-drawn buggies traveled the streets above it.

The old cast-iron water main on South Aurora was installed sometime around 1900, according to water director Dennis Kress. It is one of the oldest water mains in town, and thanks to a community development block grant, the city finally will be able to replace it.

"You can get 113 years out of a cast-iron water main, believe it or not," Kress said.

But the water flow is not adequate for fire protection, and it is time to widen it. A $100,000 grant recently awarded by Madison County will enable Collinsville to bid the project and extend the main to another area for increased water flow.

South Aurora is not the only main in town to have lasted a century or more, Kress said. "There are a few left in town, though the widening project of Route 159 took care of some of them," Kress said. "The mains we have our eyes on come up (for replacement) because we've had problems, or they just don't have enough capacity... Whether we got the funding or not, (South Aurora) was on the list for replacement."

There will not be a huge difference for residents once the work is done, Kress said. "They should see some increased water pressure, but not enough to notice on a day-to-day basis," he said. "The water quality toward the end of the line should also improve."

The grant money is expected to be available in early October, and the project should begin in January. In addition to the $100,000 grant, the city will contribute $35,000.

"Projects like this would be extremely difficult for the city to take on and accomplish without the assistance of grant programs like this one," said Mayor John Miller.

The recent boil order in Collinsville was not related to the older mains, however.

Kress said a broken main in the area of Portland and Julia avenues caused the boil order last week, which has since been lifted. "That one's not that old," he said. "It was probably put in in the 1950s."

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 618-239-2507.

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