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Galesburg in final phase of lead water service line replacement

The city of Galesburg is entering the sixth and final phase of replacing lead water service lines over health concerns.

Officials expect work to begin in August and to be completed by May of next year.

Five years after Galesburg began replacing its lead water service lines over health concerns, the end of that project is in sight.

The city council approved a bid for $2.6 million from J.C. Dillon Inc. for what interim city manager Wayne Carl said is the sixth – and final – project the city will have to undertake for lead service lines.

“When this phase is completed, we’ll have replaced over 3,500 lead service lines and spent over 12 million dollars doing that,” Carl said.

It will cost an average of $5,200 for each lead service line that's replaced with plastic in this round. That’s an increase of around 35% over phase five of the project.

Carl said part of that is due to increased material costs, but it also is related to the location of the final lines to be replaced.

“A lot of these final phase ones are on Main Street. They’re for businesses, so the traffic control is more expensive, Carl said. “Also it’s going to be more difficult to do the work for the contractors.”

The bid covers replacement of around 500 lead service lines, but Carl said that is closer to 400 based on the current inventory.

The city estimates that would lower the cost of the project by $400,000.

All phases of the project have been funded by forgivable loans from the Illinois EPA.

“The EPA is working on getting additional funding for us so we can finish out our phase whether it’s 500 or 400,” Carl said.

Approval of the bid is conditional on final IEPA approval, but officials expect work to begin in August and to be completed by May of next year.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.