Aging water lines concern superintendent

COLUMBIA CITY — For Mike Dear and the rest of Columbia City’s water department, ensuring residents have safe water to drink is pretty much a “round-the-clock” job.Dear reported to the city’s Board of Works and Safety on Friday and told the three-man board that the town is facing the same problem that many municipalities in the country are dealing with — breaks in half-century-old water mains.“It’s a problem that’s hitting the whole country,” Dear said. “The cast (iron) from the ’50s and ’60s is just breaking.”The board has been hearing reports from individual departments over the past few weeks and Dear told them his crews have been installing new water lines and repairing old ones in various areas around the city.On South Elm Street, Dear reported that five houses are now hooked to a new six-inch main that replaced the previous four-inch line. He told the board that the water pressure in these households should be improved.He added that main breaks are more common this time of year with the dry weather. Without sufficient moisture, Dear said, the ground shifts more than usual, putting extra stress on water lines.Dear also told the board that the biennial washout of the city’s three water towers has been completed.Each of the three towers was cleaned, washed out, inspected and disinfected and made ready for service, Dear reported.In other board business, the Parks Department was approved for the purchase of a new truck.The truck will be purchased locally and will cost $17,825.