Milton officials have moved quickly to replace a problematic water main on Reed Street, with the town close to having it ready for service.
Water Superintendent Jimmy Kersey told the town’s water committee July 26 that crews have laid in two 120-foot sections of pipe with another section still to be put in. On July 27, the crews put in a cap, charged the line and left the line with chlorine in it. Kersey said the idea is to disinfect the main, leaving the chlorine in the pipe into the week of Aug. 1.
From there, Kersey said, the crews will blow the chlorine off and conduct water testing. If those tests come back positive, the new main will be put into service. Kersey said an additional improvement is that the new main will be looped in with surrounding streets and will have two shutoff valves in the event of a break, whereas before there were none.
Repairing the mains on Reed Street has been a priority project since the main broke for a second time in as many years in April. That main break caused the closing of H.O. Brittingham and Milton elementary schools, and left a significant portion of town without water. The previous main was an old concrete pipe that not only breaks frequently, but is also difficult to fix, as there are houses on Reed Street that sit close to the roadway. Mayor John Collier said if the main continued to break, it could cause a resident to lose a front porch to have the main fixed, making repairs considerably more expensive. When the main broke in June 2022, it took town crews until 2 a.m. to fix it and restore water.
To expedite the process, town council approved a resolution July 3, allowing the town to move forward on the project quickly without a competitive bid process, which Town Manager Kristy Rogers said would have added another 30 to 60 days for engineering and bidding. The resolution stated that the project is time sensitive and repairs are no longer an option. Updates on the project have been publicly coordinated by the Public Works Department through the water committee, chaired by Councilman Fred Harvey.