Marion council considering new method to clean waterlines

? ?Ice pigging,? popular in England, could be more cost-effective until lines replaced.

This photo shows the build up of sediment inside a typical water line in Marion. The Marion City Council is considering a new, more cost-effective type of cleaning process called ?ice pigging.? Patty Decker / Free Press

The Marion City Council learned about a new type of waterline cleaning process as an alternative to a more expensive line replacement project at its Aug. 3 meeting, but no action was taken.

City Administrator Roger Holter said Councilor Chad Adkins asked him to explore other options for the city?s water-distribution system based on cost and debt service.

?The proposal on the table (at the previous meeting) was for a $1.9 million line replacement project which will push the debt service commitments to 2056,? he said.

The alternative proposal, called ice pigging, he said, would be a line-cleaning process over the next three years.

?Then over the course of the next three years handling the replacement on three additional sections in the manner recently completed on the Eastmoor/Ashley loop project,? Holter said.

If the council approved the line-cleaning process, he said, the city would request $50,000 in the 2016 budget and $100,000 for each following budget cycle.

When Mayor Todd Heit?schmidt asked where the money would come from to pay for the cleaning process, Holter said it could be funded through current water operations.

New approach

?Water quality is of the highest priority to the Marion City Council and its citizens,? Holter said.

The waterline replacement programs address dependability issues, but this program, Holter said, does little to address the natural sediment that builds over time.

Holter said the process. popular in England, uses a thick ice slurry pumped into the pipe from a hydrant opening; the naturally occurring sediment is picked up as the ice slurry travels along the pipe.

?The ice slurry is then removed from a hydrant at the other end of the pipe and disposed of,? he said.

Holter said ice pigging is now widely adopted as the most cost-effective method of pipe cleaning in many countries around the world.

The process includes:

? isolating the main by closing valves upstream and downstream of the section to be cleaned.

? pumping the ice slurry into the pipe via a fire hydrant or similar fitting. The downstream pressure in the pipe is monitored and managed at the outlet point via the fire hydrant.

? opening the upstream valve so the ice is pushed along the pipe using the natural pressure in the network. To do this, the upstream valve is opened and the flow at the outlet hydrant is used to control the speed of the ice.

? collecting the ice pig is done by having water in front of the ice pig and discharging normally. Temperature at the outlet point warns of the arrival of the ice, which allows the sediment laden ice to be collected separately in a tanker, if desired.

? flushing and returning to service is completed when the pipe is flushed to the appropriate standard and returned to service.

Speed limits

The council heard more about the concerns expressed by citizens at the June 22 meeting regarding children?s safety on the south hill, Holter said.

Three options were discussed:

? making traffic throughout the city 20 mph by adding 50 new signs and retrofitting 30 others for a total project cost of about $6,408.

? adding signage posted at the entrances to the city stating speed limit 20 mph unless otherwise posted, which would require 10 additional signs for a cost of about $989.

? additions of two and four-way stop intersections. Holter said city police indicated the installation of stop sign intersections on the north hill have been effective in slowing the overall traffic speed in and around Marion Elementary School. The installation of 20 stop signs would cost about $2,139.

The council approved having police set up temporary stop signs in certain locations to modify traffic behavior.

Holter said he would recommend staying with the speed limits that are communicated statewide and to which most people are accustomed.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? approved the contract with the Kansas Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant of $221,940 for the East Park by a vote of 4-1 with Councilor Jerry Kline casting the dissenting vote.

?It?s nothing against you (Rosemary Saunders, grant administrator). I just feel we don?t have the money to do it,? he said.

? opened the public hearing for the 2016 budget, but no public comments were made. The council approved the new budget unanimously.

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