The city of Uniontown was recently notified it was awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce to improve its water distribution system.
The city applied for the grant in late 2012 and was told it would receive the funding in a letter dated Jan. 16.
Fewer service interruptions, better water quality and better fire protection are what Uniontown residents can expect once the project is completed, said Frank Young, project engineer with Agricultural Engineering Associates, Uniontown.
The firm came on board with the project after another engineering firm did not meet some of the deadlines set for the project.
The project will include replacement of approximately 30,850 linear feet of the city's water distribution system and is slated to be started later this year. The grant will allow complete refurbishment of the system and installation of modern facilities that will give the maximum service life to the city, according to a news release from Laura Moore, planning and development consultant with the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission.
"Our goal is for a late 2013 construction start," said Young. Bids will be let this summer if all goes according to plan, he said.
Supply lines and service lines will be replaced with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and there will be new hydrants, meters, valves and telemetry controls. "Telemetry controls keep the water tower from running over," Young said. "The water tower is in good shape, has been well maintained and is considered a part of the new system."
"They'll install new pipeline first, so as not to disturb the old system. Then when the new system is in place and operating, they'll hook the houses up. That way there will not be an interruption in service for a long time."
Life expectancy for the new system is 50 to 100 years for the pipes, Young said.
The current system, which has seen a lot of breaks, was meant to last 50 years and is now 55 years old. About 1 million gallons of water was lost last year due to those breaks, officials said.
Next steps in the process are an environmental review, a request for the release of funds and other items, which will be discussed at a technical assistance meeting. "At this meeting the contracts will be gone over and other things that need to be done," Moore said.
Community Development Block Grants have been successful in helping with community needs for more than 25 years and provided over $13 million last year for community improvement projects, according to the letter sent to Uniontown Mayor Larry Jurgensen. Jurgensen was unavailable for comment because of illness.