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Posted: February 6, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Oxford begins replacing century-old water main

Bryan Fazio/

The City of Oxford is soil deep into its $938,000 water main project, working on replacing 100-year-old pipes.

In 2009 the city discovered its water main was starting to leak and set out on the extensive journey of installing a new main to avoid any drastic, and expensive, future problems.

In 2011, Oxford included in its SPLOST referendum the funds for a new water main to run through the city. Construction began on the project in January, with trees being removed, and holes being dug for the new pipes.

The new pipes will be installed along Emory and Asbury streets along the overlay in front of close to 65 houses.

"Both roads provide a pretty important part of our water distribution network," Oxford City Manager Bob Schwartz said.

The residents’ properties wouldn’t be damaged during the construction, but trees on the overlays in front of the sidewalk needed to be removed.

"About 2/3 of the pipe has been installed on Asbury and the trees in the way on Emory were taken down," Schwartz said.

Emory Street, also known as 81, is a state road, so any construction underneath it would require traffic to be stopped through the state. Instead, the construction will involve a hole on either side on the road, and a boring screw to thread the pipe through.

One of the bore-installed pipes has already been put in, and two or three more are expected over the next couple of weeks.

The project is expected to be done in August, with the exception of replacement trees. Oxford’s arborist said the trees wouldn’t take as well in August as they would in the winter. The entire project, trees and all, is expected to be completed by February 2015, according to Schwartz.

Water distribution is not expected to be interrupted.

The new main will be put in completely, with pressure tests run, before each house will be individually disconnected from the old and connected from the new.

The old water main underneath Emory Street will be left and filled with concrete grout to stabilize it.

"The old line is gradually deteriorating," Schwartz said. "You get a leak about every other month and have to do a repair."

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