LaFayette council approves water line inventory, checks for lead

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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The LaFayette City Council meeting considered a water system service line inventory project during their council meeting on Monday night. Allan Tucker, from Harmon Engineering, presented a project proposal for checking the water system and water meters in the city for lead and copper.

In 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new Lead and Copper Rule that mandates that every lead pipe in America be replaced.

“Part of that rule required a water service inventory to look for lead service lines and lead-containing components,” Tucker said. 

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The city’s new water superintendent, Kevin Page, requested Tucker’s assistance in managing the project and providing data collection on the meters. 

After the state mandated that city water systems be checked for lead, which can cause problems with cognitive development, the city had a few years to develop a water service inventory.

The city of LaFayette has 1,352 services, according to Tucker. 

“It’s gonna be a joint effort, if [the city] hires us, between us and the water department,” Tucker said. “They’ll do the fieldwork, and we’ll do the database inventory.” 

According to Tucker, the project includes the initial planning to identify the personnel and the procedures for collecting the service line information. They will also gather a record review of all existing records and collect additional written information.

The field investigation will involve digging up dirt on either side of the meters to determine the material in the actual service line and the service line components for every service in the city. With that data, they will create an inventory database.

“This database will be a living document. In other words, it will be continuously updated as new services are placed or put in,” Tucker said. “It’s something like that will have to be maintained forever.”

The cost to Harmon Engineering for their services would be $11,900, not including the cost to the city for the water department’s labor and equipment.

Councilman Terry Mangram asked Tucker why they would have to pay Harmon Engineering to assist with the project. He said this and other ongoing projects seemed to be “nickel-and-diming us to death.” 

The deadline for the inventory is Oct. 16, 2024. Page said the city is behind schedule on the project, which should have begun long ago. Because of the specialized requirements of the projects, Page requested Harmon Engineering to lend a hand. 

Mangram also worried about the added expense if some of the meters have to be replaced due to the presence of lead. 

All the same, Page said the deadline is approaching and they need to get the project underway. The council voted on the action. Councilmembers Toney Thomas, David Ennis and Michael Ellis all voted yea, and Mangram voted no. Councilmember Tammie Williams was not present at the meeting.