Read the story here.
Some important highlights as they relate to the health of our community. Emphases added:
The 6-inch cast-iron water main is 107 years old, said Rick Dougherty, the city’s chief supervisor of water distribution.
“We’ve replaced a lot of the mains in the area over the years,” Dougherty said.
Allentown is fighting aging infrastructure throughout the city, as cast-iron pipelines and water mains from the turn of the century begin to degrade. A 12-inch cast-iron gas distribution line dating to 1928 is the prime suspect in the Feb. 9 explosion that killed five people and leveled half a city block in Allentown.
And although some gas and water pipes are replaced every year, it’s a daunting and costly task — with one gas pipeline safety group estimating the expense at $1 million for each mile.
I think most city residents rightly suspect that the gas and water lines beneath us need to be replaced. $1 million a mile? Fine. The new arena, which I support with a few reservations, will cost $159 million. UGI has something like 79 miles of gas line under the city, the degradation of which was a known issue 20 years ago. Yes, the cost of upgrades will be passed on to consumers without some kind of other chunk of money (ours anyway) earmarked to offset it. How many miles of water piping need to be replaced? Whatever it is, let’s do it.
It’s a good thing we’re in line for a hefty Community Development Block Grant. Ooops.
In the meantime, the new sinkhole, which formed over the last 36 hours or so, is becoming national news:
- Sinkhole threatens Allentown homes; residents evacuated (pennlive.com)
- Graves May Be Exhumed Due to Allentown Sinkhole – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- Pennsylvania sinkhole threatens graves at historic cemetery – CNN (edition.cnn.com)
- Pennsylvania sinkhole threatens historic graves (cnn.com)