Waterline System Event 2023 FAQ
- Will my water bill be higher due to water main breaks?
Water bills will not rise as a direct result from this outbreak of water main breaks. The City will pay for the cost of repairing the lines. The cost for the excess water will be minimal because a large portion of the City's water cost is based on fixed costs, such as debt service, employees, equipment costs.
Burns and McDonnell completed a water rate study that will result in a series of incremental increases. These increases will in fund long term upgrades to system and repay the state revolving loan fund for the $20 million in waterline projects to be completed.
- Why is maintenance of the 12th Avenue water storage tank necessary at this time?
The tower is 33 years old and was experiencing significant issues in the interior of the structure that if not addressed could result in a failure of the water tower. The project includes repair of the interior structure, safety upgrades, sandblasting of the interior of the tank, epoxy coating to extend the life of the bowl, and a new mixing system to improve water quality. The exterior is also being painted to prevent the repairs in the bowl from rusting and extending the life of the bowl.
- What did the water model show would happen with tower offline?
The City utilized our contract water model to review the impact of the project. At the time the model did not indicate we would see the increase in pressures we have seen since the project started.
- Why are there so many water main breaks occurring?
The City currently has one of its two water towers offline to perform maintenance on the interior of the bowl. This has created a shift in the pressure pattern for the City's water system and is causing fluctuations in pressure. That combined with 80–100-year-old pipe exploits weaknesses in the pipes and is causing breaks.
- What projects are scheduled to improve the city waterline system?
1. 24th Avenue Waterline Project:
This project involves the installation of a new waterline from the water plant to 12th Avenue and Prairie Street.
Construction Duration: It is expected to take approximately one year to complete.
Purpose: The primary objective of this project is to increase the capacity and efficiency of our water distribution network in this specific area.
2. Southeast Transmission Main Project:
The Southeast Transmission Main project is extensive, spanning from 12th Avenue to Garfield Street, then to South Avenue, and finally to Carter Street.
Design Phase: Anticipated to last up to 18 months.
Construction Phase: Expected to span between 24 to 36 months.
Purpose: The Southeast Transmission Main project will significantly enhance our ability to transport water across the entire city using a single, large pipe, before distributing it to the mains throughout town. This design will help reduce water velocity in the rest of the system, contributing to its overall stability.
These projects reflect our commitment to investing in the long-term reliability and efficiency of the city’s water distribution system. While we understand that construction may cause temporary inconveniences, we are dedicated to minimizing disruptions and keeping our community informed throughout the process.
- Why is it necessary to work on the 12th Avenue water tower now?
The City has a very narrow window to complete the elevated storage tank project. The project cannot be completed in the summer months because of system demands. It cannot be completed in the winter because of temperatures too low to allow products to cure. Starting the project in the spring is a very narrow window with more active weather.
- Why are fire hydrants allowed to be open for extended period of time?
Select fire hydrants are open in Emporia to help relieve pressure on the waterline system. The hydrant water will enter storm water system and then return to the water source.
Report possible water main breaks to the Public Works Department at 620-340-6339.
- How does water move through the city?
The City has to push water from the northwest part of the City to our major industrial partners on the SE side of the City. That means that you need to have a fairly high-pressure level on the water as it leaves the plant. The means that the lines closer to the plant will experience a higher-pressure level than line further from the plant.
- Is there the water contaminated after a water main break?
The water is not currently contaminated after water main breaks through September 19, 2023. City crews work diligently to restore service by flushing the lines each time a repair is made. City water service currently exceeds KDHE standards.
- What is the difference between a Water Watch and a Water Warning?
What is a Water Watch?
A Water Watch may be issued when conditions indicate an increased risk that the water supply is experiencing higher-than-usual usage that may require voluntary water conservation efforts to avoid the water supply from reaching a level that impacts critical infrastructure.
What is a Water Warning?
A Water Warning may be issued when the water supply is facing serious challenges that require immediate action. Water shortages threaten the city’s ability to meet essential water needs for public safety and the community. Mandatory actions are required during a Water Warning such as eliminating non-essential water use, conserving indoor water use up to 1,000 gallons per week until warning is lifted, and emergency preparedness measures.