Utility officials say Brunswick’s Urbana neighborhood is now seeing better water pressure following underground upgrades that took nearly two years to complete because of numerous delays.
In addition to improving water pressure to homes and businesses in the area, the main concern for the Brunswick- Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission was making sure the area has significant water pressure to adequately power fire hydrants. The old, corroded and obstructed lines, resulted in low fire hydrant pressure which put many homes at higher risk of total loss due to fires, officials said.
“Thanks to the improvements that we’ve seen within the Urbana Park area, we’re taking the initiative to identify areas lacking sufficient fire protection,” said Todd Kline, senior engineer with the utility. ”The policy on how that need is defined, is being developed now.”
The utility worked in conjunction with the city of Brunswick to upgrade water, sewer, storm drainage and on paving the section of Brunswick, located between Gloucester and L Streets from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to U.S. Highway 17.
Total cost for the joint project was approximately $1.9 million. The city’s share for storm drainage work, was approximately $125,000.
Tests conducted indicate much greater pressures and flows at the fire hydrants in the area, Kline said.
Now that the Urbana project is complete, utility staff is seeking to identify other areas of concern within all districts, especially where low pressure will affect fire protection.
“Crews supervised by Derrick Simmons, water distribution superintendent with Joint Water and Sewer, will work closely with staff from both the city of Brunswick Fire Department and the Glynn County Fire Department to closely monitor results from routine fire flow testing and will prepare a map for the public, highlighting the areas of concern which will accompany project updates delivered to commissioners on a monthly basis during public meetings,” Kline said.
As funding allows, the utility will prioritize contracts that will enable quick and effective improvement to fire service pressure across the entire user base.
The Urbana project took nearly two years to complete. A similar project on Mansfield street, which has run into similar problems, has passed the two-year mark and still has no official completion date. The Urbana project started in October 2015 and was supposed to be complete by July 2016.
Both projects ran into unforeseen underground infrastructure, contractor-related delays and storms Hermine and Matthew.
“The major delays were caused by (discoveries) during the construction phase that previous, as-built drawings were less than accurate,” Kline said.
Kline added that challenges with materials and subcontractor coordination also contributed, but that lack of comprehensive infrastructure documentation created the most conflicts.
“We have technology in place now to keep better records on what gets put in the ground and good oversight to ensure that as-built details get passed on to the next generation.”