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Water line replacement in Sewickley Heights called 'critical'

| Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, 12:45 p.m.

More than 2 miles of water lines are set to be replaced over the next several weeks in Sewickley Heights, the manager of the Sewickley Water Authority said.

Work began last Monday on Persimmon and Backbone roads — the first of two projects, Sewickley Water Authority manager Brian Hohman said.

The work is expected to last for six weeks.

A second project is expected to start Monday on Scaife Road and a portion of Blackburn Road, he said.

That job is expected to last 10 weeks.

Altogether, the projects cost $1.8 million, he said.

Line replacements will allow water authority leaders to maintain safe and reliable water for customer use, and allow for continued fire protection, Hohman said.

Pipes along Backbone, Persimmon and Scaife roads date to the 1930s and lines on Blackburn Road date to the 1910s, he said.

“This stuff is at the end of its useful life,” Hohman said. “So it's time for upgrades.”

Six-inch cast iron pipes dating to early last century will be replaced by 8- or 12-inch polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, pipe, he said.

PVC pipe has about a 100-year lifespan, Hohman said.

He called the replacement “critical” from an operational standpoint, as the cast iron pipes could fail.

The water authority serves Sewickley, Sewickley Heights, Glen Osborne and Haysville. In addition, it has customers in Aleppo, Edgeworth and Bell Acres.

Hohman said the water authority expects to replace pipes every year.

“You don't want to delay,” he said. “It'll get more expensive in the future. Then you get overwhelmed.”

Centennial Avenue from Nevin Avenue to Blackburn Road is expected to be replaced next year, Hohman said.

“We're trying to address the areas that are most critical for line replacement.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or

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