The Oak Ridge City Council has a special meeting at 4 p.m. today (Friday, February 16) to consider two contracts, one for water line repair and the other for pool repair. The water line repair is an emergency repair to a 24-inch feed that is considered critical for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and passes through the Y-12 National Security Complex.
If approved, the water line repair contract would be valued at roughly $100,000, and it would be awarded to Hurst Excavating LLC of Knoxville. The project would replace about 400 feet of the 24-inch water line, which is along Bear Creek Road inside the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The project is a joint effort between the City of Oak Ridge and the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira A. McWaters said in a February 15 memo to City Manager Mark Watson. The city-DOE water contract specifies that repairs are to be shared 50/50, McWaters said.
The cast iron water line runs from east to west from the city’s water treatment plant, which is on Pine Ridge at Y-12, to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The line failed January 29. It is part of the infrastructure that was transferred to the city in May 2000, when the city assumed ownership and began operating the water treatment plant, which had previously been owned by DOE.
It is located in front of the Jack Case Building at Y-12, and it is covered with about 30 feet of fill that was placed there when Bear Creek Road was relocated to prepare for construction of the Uranium Processing Facility, McWaters said.
Hoping to avoid future breaks along the large 1940s-era pipe, the city has proposed installing about 400 feet of new line, which would be at a lower depth of about five feet to the top of the pipe. The Oak Ridge Public Work Department compared replacement and repair costs, and the staff determined that replacing the line would cost less than repairing only 20 to 40 feet of the line, McWaters said. The replacement would cost significantly less than repairing the broken section and relocating a new line around the existing pipe in the future, she said.
McWaters said the line failed in 2014 in a similar manner, about 40 feet east of the current location. The excessive depth required an excavation that measured about 100 feet across for worker safety.
McWaters said Y-12 and ORNL are currently being supplied water through the Y-12 distribution system at a capacity that is less than normal.
“The 24-inch feed to ORNL is critical for continued facilities operation; therefore, we are considering this an emergency repair,” McWaters said.
Replacing the line could take three weeks, she said.
The other contract, the one for pool repairs, would be valued at about $195,000, and if approved, it would be awarded to Zehntner Construction Group of Brentwood. The project would repair concrete at the city’s outdoor swimming pool, the Oak Ridge Municipal Swimming Pool on Providence Road.
Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Director Jon Hetrick said the concrete pool shell was originally built in 1993 as part of a comprehensive renovation project.
“Over time, exposure to chemicals and environmental conditions have created defects in the pool’s concrete shell, which if not corrected, will continue to deteriorate,” Hetrick said in a February 13 memo to Watson. “As the defects worsen, they becomes sources of water leaks in the pool. This loss of water requires the addition of new water from the spring that feeds the pool, which in turn requires increased treatment compared to treated water that has been recirculated. This increases the costs associated with chemical use and operation of the filtration system.”
Also, if left uncorrected, the leaks in the concrete shell could eventually exceed the spring’s ability to maintain the pool water level, Hetrick said.
Using potable water from the city’s distribution system is cost-prohibitive, he said.
“Correcting the deficiencies in the pool shell will allow the pool to operate more efficiently and reliably,” Hetrick said.
Today’s special meeting starts at 4 p.m. February 16 in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom at 200 South Tulane Avenue. See the agenda here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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