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City of Crete Nebraska

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Water line replacement project nearing end

The City of Crete’s Water Improvement Project is nearing the end of over a decade of work for a small city crew in replacing aging water lines in the majority of neighborhoods. The overall timeline and costs-savings of a couple of million dollars made it a proactive infrastructure update for the city.

The final project costs were paid off in the most recent two-year budget cycle, started in 2016, and a $10 charge on utility bills ended in January of 2017.

A 2005 water study, tallying the age and construction of the city’s water lines, necessitated a plan of action for replacement when remedies to fix iron and manganese levels proved unsuccessful. A city Water Department crew of two to four employees has been working on the project several blocks at a time.

The city chose to implement the water line replacement project in-house rather than contract with an outside firm in order to harness cost savings on materials and labor as well as without inconveniencing large sections of neighborhoods at a time. If a contractor had taken on the job it may have only taken a couple of years to complete, but would have torn up larger sections of town for water line replacement rather than several blocks at a time. The city’s crew over time also worked with residents in certain areas to accommodate specific neighborhood or property needs.

Savings of an estimated 35 to 55 percent was projected for this type of work by the city purchasing their own materials by the semi truck load and using discretion to determine if a line actually needed replacement. An outside contractor would have replaced all lines regardless of condition, however, the city crew discovered some lines were in good condition and left them alone.

The East 13th Street and Iris Avenue area contributed a significant savings when the cost of water line replacement along the route of that 2013 street surface reconstruction was folded into its partially, federally funded project. A portion of the city’s oldest water lines, from the 1880's, were replaced in this stretch.

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