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Louisville Water accelerates plan to improve water mains

Board of Water Works approves 2015 budget

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — Recognizing the growing need to invest more in its underground infrastructure, the board of Water Works has approved a significant increase in projects to inspect, repair and replace water mains in Louisville Water’s service area.

Louisville-Water-CompanyAt its November meeting, the Board approved $10 million in capital projects for 2015 to replace distribution water mains (pipes smaller than 20-inches in diameter) and $4 million to inspect transmission water mains (pipes 20-inches in diameter and larger).

The projects are part of Louisville Water’s 2015 Budget, which was approved at Tuesday’s meeting. Louisville Water has over 4,200 miles of water main in its service area and is considered an industry leader in maintaining its infrastructure. In the 1990s, the company began a program to focus on repairing and replacing aging water mains. In 2014, the company approved a strategic business plan to replace 0.5% of its smaller water mains annually and in order to meet that goal the Board approved an increase in funding from $4 million in 2014 to $10 million in 2015. The capital plan includes steady increases over the next five years for the water main repair and replacement.

For 2015, Louisville Water will repair/replace up to 10 miles of smaller water mains.

Engineers will also use new technology to inspect up to seven miles of the larger transmission mains while they are filled with water and in service. Inspection of the larger mains allows Louisville Water to find, and repair, damaged or stressed sections of pipe before failure occurs. Louisville Water’s five-year average for water main breaks is approximately 470 breaks per year. The investment into maintaining the pipes is critical to ensure reliability.

“Louisville Water has long been recognized as a best-in-class water utility in the area of asset management,” said Jim Brammell, president and CEO of Louisville Water. “The increased funding for infrastructure replacement demonstrates the company’s continuing commitment to be good stewards of a water system that grows larger every year.”

Eliminating safety risks

The 2015 budget also includes treatment-related projects that greatly enhance the safety of employees and neighbors and maintain high water quality. Louisville Water will complete the construction of a facility to produce a dilute supply of chlorine at its B.E. Payne Plant in Prospect. The company constructed a similar facility at the Crescent Hill Plant in 2010. The facility allows Louisville Water to produce a daily supply of disinfectant using salt, water and electricity and eliminates the need to store chlorine on-site. In addition, Louisville Water will construct an aqueous ammonia facility at both plants in 2015, eliminating the need to store gaseous ammonia. Once complete, these projects significantly reduce the hazardous materials stored at Louisville Water facilities.

Maintaining value

Louisville Water estimates customers will use 34.8 billion gallons of water in 2015, roughlythe same amount forecast for 2014. This includes water for residential, industrial,commercial and wholesale accounts. The board approved an increase in the monthly cost forwater service of 78-cents a month to $22.97 for the average residential customer using 5,000gallons of water.

Louisville Water’s 2015 budget includes a dividend to its owner, Louisville Metro, of $20.5million and free fire protection for the community. Louisville Water maintains 24,000 publicfire hydrants.

Operations, maintenance and expanding the customer base

In the spring of 2015 Louisville Water will implement a new technology platform that will allow customers to more efficiently manage their accounts. The company’s operations and maintenance budget includes an increase in depreciation and support services for the billing system.

Louisville Water will also begin construction of a pipeline to Hardin County that will provide an additional supply of water to Hardin County Water District No. 2. The water district will begin to purchase water from Louisville Water in 2016.

At a glance – Louisville Water 2015 budget

Water and Other Operating Revenue: $174.6 million

Operations & Maintenance Expense: $70.8 million

Capital Program: $89.6 million (before cash reimbursements)

Dividend to Louisville Metro: $20.5 million

Average monthly residential water bill: $22.97