Lead Services Infrastructure Plan
In 2018, the City of Plymouth reviewed our water main system, sanitary sewer system, and roadways for the purpose of planning future capital improvement projects within lead water service areas. This review resulted in an official plan called the Lead Services Infrastructure Plan. Individual projects were analyzed to determine which projects present the most pressing need when all factors are combined. Some of the factors that will influence our investments in lead service areas include: lead water service laterals, history of maintenance issues, capacity issues, current code and standards for sewer main and water main, and roadway pavement conditions. The Lead Services Infrastructure Plan serves as a supplement to our Water System Engineering Report prepared in 2008 and updated in 2013.
Why did we do this?
In recent years there has been a large amount of attention given to lead water services and associated health concerns with exposure to lead throughout the United States. Plymouth Utilities has begun keeping a database of water service materials as water meters are being updated through our Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) initiative. In addition to the database being assembled, experience has shown that locations where 4-inch water mains are in service have a high probability of also having lead water services to homes. Approximately 23.6% of all water services are lead within the City of Plymouth. Lead water services are only one of several issues associated with 4-inch water main. Water mains of this size not only create capacity issues but also do not provide adequate fire protection. 4-inch water main is no longer installed but continues to exist in older parts of the City of Plymouth. Generally, cast iron sections are at or beyond their useful life and are a cause for increased maintenance issues from breaks and leaks. Besides upsizing 4-inch mains and removing lead service laterals, other physical factors will be considered when assembling our proposed project and priority list including the history of water main breaks and leaks, age of pipes, and water main pipe and service material. The Lead Services Infrastructure Plan will help us prioritize projects within lead service areas. The overall plan is estimated to cost over $22.0+ million in today’s dollars.
What is next?
The Lead Service Infrastructure Plan was adopted in 2018 and will serve as a guide for the 2019 budget and future capital improvement plans. The proposed 2019 budget includes funding to replace water main, sewer main, and roadway on Hein Avenue. As part of our review of sewer infrastructure, the Common Council approved a sewer rate charge ($750) for reconnecting the private sewer laterals to our city owned sewer main when sewer projects are done. This reconnection includes replacement of a portion of the private sewer lateral from the sewer main to behind the sidewalk in order to prevent future impacts to city roadway from failing private sewer laterals and also ensure that proper connections are done. This fee will be invoiced in spring and due by the end of the sewer project. If the fee is not paid, the fee will be added as a special charge to the property tax bill the following November.
The City of Plymouth will also be evaluating the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approval of lead water lateral replacement programs. The City of Kenosha became the first community in Wisconsin with an approved program. The City will monitor Kenosha’s program and other communities across the state that are looking to implement similar programs. The Common Council intends to revisit this topic in 2019 as further rules, regulations, and programs are implemented.