City Council approves $135k for maintenance

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FARMINGTON — The city of Farmington has not been performing some maintenance work that would extend the life of its waterlines, according to Public Works director David Sypher.

Sypher placed a section of water pipe on the table inside the executive conference chambers at Farmington City Hall on Tuesday during a City Council work session to help him illustrate the seriousness of the issue.

Based on the limited corrosion on the exterior, Sypher said he could tell that it is a fairly new section of pipe. Even so, thick deposits lined the pipe’s interior. Sypher was advocating for an amendment to the city’s operations and maintenance contract that he said will help remove deposits from waterlines throughout the city.

The City Council approved the amendment to the contract on Tuesday. The city will see a net increase of about $135,000 devoted to water and wastewater system maintenance.

One of the changes in the amendment is the addition of a unidirectional flushing program.

“Unidirectional flushing means that you turn on certain valves in the system and turn off other valves in the system before you turn on a hydrant to flush your lines,” Sypher explained.

He said turning on and off certain valves in the system creates a maximum velocity for the water. That allows it to clean out deposits in the pipe.

Sypher said the deposits consist primarily of iron and manganese.

“It doesn’t cause any health problems, but really reduces the life of our pipe network,” Sypher told the council.

He said in the past the city has performed flushing operations, but it has never flushed the entire system while turning on and off select valves. Sypher said he believes adding unidirectional flushing will extend the life of the pipes by 25 years.

“Is this a fresh water pipe we’re looking at?” Councilor Sean Sharer asked during the meeting.

Sypher confirmed that the pipe was used to transport drinking water.

“Wow,” Sharer said. “Let’s clean them.”

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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