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New pipes to improve water quality, pressure

by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer

Brown water and low water pressure woes on base may soon be a thing of the past, at least for some residents and buildings.

Work is under way now to replace aging water pipes with new, larger pipes along Hangar Loop Drive from about Hangar 5 south to the split in the road near the refueling pumps, said Ludo Van Den Bogaert, the senior civil engineer on base in charge of the project.

The work entails removing old eight-inch pipes with new, 12-inch tubes that will move more water. In addition poor pipe routing of the past is being corrected to improve water-flow efficiency, according to Bill Stromberg, chief engineer of production and control planning.

"A lot of the pipe is 30 or 40 years old and was originally routed in a grid pattern for the base the way it was with rows of barracks," he said. "That isn't efficient and we are changing routing and making new connections to correct the bad routing."

Stromberg said the new pipes will cure the "brown water syndrome" that has been seen in some buildings on base, as well as make water delivery more reliable.

"We have had some issues with water outages," said Stromberg and that should be improved quite a bit." Van Den Bogaert said the work will be ongoing but the current phase will benefit buildings along the south end of Hangar Loop Drive as well as the new housing area nearby. Improvements to pipes running to the water tower near the base hospital will greatly improve a volume and pressure problem that has been the norm.

Van Den Bogaert said the issue has been old water pipes cannot supply enough water to the tower to keep it full during peak periods of water use. As a result, the tank would empty or run low, reducing the amount of water and pressure available to the hospital and surrounding area.

Van Den Bogaert said the current phase of work should be wrapped up by early May. Future phases will address the miles of remaining old pipe, some of which dates to the 1960s.




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