EAST CHICAGO | Leaking water lines across the city are being repaired in anticipation of eventual full power from the year-old, but still-under-performing, new municipal waterworks.
Siemens USA, which designed the faulty filtration system, has scheduled a meeting this week with the original consulting engineers on the $52 million project to discuss how to get the facility working, Water Board attorney Joseph Allegretti said last week.
Allegretti said it was "encouraging" that officials with Indianapolis-based American Structurepoint and Black & Veatch, of Overland Park, Kan., were getting together with Siemens to talk about a solution to the problems which have kept the plant offline since its construction.
Terms of the city's contract with Siemens penalize the firm $2,000 each day that the waterworks fails to produce its 17 million gallons-per-day rated output, damages which have been accumulating since November 2011.
In the meantime, Water Department workers have been repairing water lines which a recent study found were losing as much as 195,000 gallons each day.
Valparaiso-based M.E. Simpson Co. spent the summer investigating all 88 miles of water lines in the city, Water Department Director Brian Marciniak said, and found 24 leaking spots.
Some, such as incompletely closed fire hydrants, were easily rectified, Marciniak said, but others, like a broken 8-inch main at 142nd Street and Indianapolis Boulevard which was pouring 57,000 gallons per day directly into a city sewer, required significant repairs.
The worst leaks already have been fixed, Marciniak said, and a schedule is being put together to address the remaining breaches in the distribution system.
In all, the $14,000 cost of the Simpson analysis paid for itself in two months through savings in the amount of previously lost water, Marciniak said.