Mar 3, 2013

Water Lease Jeopardizes Public Safety

Over the decades, there has been a number of water leaks and catastrophic gas explosions in Allentown; The Mountainville Inn, Oak Street, Corporate Plaza and North 5th Street, pictured above. Although the city, for liability reasons, doesn't confirm water leaks as the cause, it was the reason in at least several of the cases. Leaking water erodes the ground supporting the metal gas pipe, which in turn sags and cracks. After the gas tragedy last year on 13th Street, UGI is replacing their aging infrastructure. The water pipes in Allentown are much older than the gas pipes, many over 100 years old. The city has been systematically rebuilding entire streets in center city for years. They have the institutional knowledge of this underground situation. This fall we relined a portion of the Schantz Spring feed pipe near Union Terrace, which is a metal pipe from 1905.  Recently, an advocate for the lease to a private company  wrote that private companies will have an incentive to repair leaks, to save water and maximize profit.  I respectfully disagree, they make their money selling the water, which is obtained free of charge, taken from the springs and the Little Lehigh creek.  On the contrary, they will maximize their profit by deferring maintenance and pipe replacement.  Leasing the water system to a private company will jeopardize public safety.

photo:molovinsky/1990

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on target.

Anonymous said...

I know you do not reside in allentowns inner city MM, public safty has been on the decline for years now¿ This all is just a poor attemped at decreasing liability issues by allentowns political pupeteers that have had there hand in the maintaining and upkeep of allentowns vital public utilities¿ This is only the tip of the iceburg of the neglegence issues allentowns infastruture is faceing¿


Just drive down one of the future blightable areas and look at the power poles that were just checked¿ You will see the pole at the bottom is leaning in the middle of the street¿ The arena and all the development will fix this though¿

REDD

Rob Hamill said...

The last time I had a major beef with a private corporation(Times Mirror) we bought some stock, mailed the board of directors, and got rid of the offending editor. A public quasi governmental entity will institutionalize waste, not solve anything, and blame the public when their pensions bring Allentown to its knees again.

michael molovinsky said...

rob, my first choice is that allentown retain the water department. my second choice is the LCA. your second choice, if not first, would be a private company. i doubt that you could buy enough shares of aqua america to influence the company.

Anonymous said...

I thought the agreement kept the pipe maintenance in the city's scope?

The lease is on the web. Some one needs to check this out.No need for unfounded concerns.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is that Aqua America is a subsidiary of an international firm. Why is it that it's always a foreign company buying up US water assets? And, why would they go to the trouble to make themselves look American?

NAFTA protections apply to foreign firms.

That's what drives US firms to buy up foreign water assets, too.

These water company guys are the smartest guys in the room and sadly, Allentown council is not. That is what they are counting on. Sadly, Allentown rate-payers will suffer because of it.

michael molovinsky said...

@3:58, you have more faith in agreements and their enforcement than I do. but to answer your question, the agreement states that the water contractor will replace a certain amount of 100+ year old pipe each year, but inspection of the system, and leak detection, will reside with the company leasing the system. in other words, pipe maintenance is NOT in the city's scope what there is no need for is administration propaganda on my blog. such intentional misinformation, being submitted by apologists, may not appear when submitted, especially if it requires a reply by me.

Anonymous said...

http://lege.net/blog.lege.net/ratical.org/co-globalize/whoOwnsWater.pdf

Comprehensive analysis of the big picture. Check it out.

michael molovinsky said...

@4:55, there is no doubt that eventually the water bottling industry, locating on rt. 78, will erode our supply and quality of life. for politicians, especially cunningham, to have labeled those few jobs a plus, and accomplishment for the valley, is a sad commentary on our lack of vision.

Anonymous said...

Just yet another point of entry for the terrorists to attack americans¿ This all at the cost of putting the public in danger for public servants pensions¿ The american dollar¿