New Franklin Water Problems Prompt Questions

3 years 6 months 1 day ago Friday, June 13 2014 Jun 13, 2014 Friday, June 13, 2014 2:46:00 PM CDT June 13, 2014 in News
By: James Packard, KOMU 8 Reporter

NEW FRANKLIN - Recent water problems in the city of New Franklin have raised questions about water infrastructure across mid-Missouri.

New Franklin city government has issued two boil advisories in the last two weeks. City Administrator Pat Cunningham said it is due to an old and sub-par water treatment facility on the west side of New Franklin. Cunningham says the boil advisories are issued when pipes in and around the facility break or crack, even if there is no water contamination.

Cunningham said New Franklin is playing a waiting game, anticipating the construction of a new regional water treatment facility just outside of the city. She said the new facility will service New Franklin, Fayette and Howard County Water Supply District One. Cunningham said the new facility should be constructed within the next two years.

KOMU 8 News wanted to know if the problem in New Franklin also exists in other cities in the area.

Columbia Water and Light Communications Specialist Connie Kacprowicz said the city of Columbia works on several projects each week to repair and maintain water lines around the city. She said the city maintains 671 miles of pipe and installed 3.4 miles of new pipe in 2013.

Kacprowicz said maintaining the pipes can be difficult because of the clay soil the city sits on. She said there are often more breaks and cracks during times of dramatic temperature change or drought.

The city has a 5 year capital improvement plan to increase the integrity of the city's pipeline system. The plan will help reduce the number of breaks and cracks that need to be repaired.

Kacprowicz said the age of water pipes in Columbia vary and that can make maintaining them difficult. In 2013, the city of Columbia issued 80 boil advisories, meaning a crack or break in the system but no contamination. Kacprowicz said that number is pretty typical.

Jefferson City spent $10.7 million in 2011 to replace pipes that were 50 to 120 years old. Some existing pipes are 100 years old.

Christie Barnhart of Missouri American Water said Jefferson City plans to replace more pipes this year.

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