Company also reports more than a third of all lead service lines have been replaced/retired in northwest Indiana
GARY, IND. (September 8, 2021) – Indiana American Water Company, a subsidiary of American Water Company (NYSE: AWK), today joined Gary Mayor Jerome Prince, community leaders and project partners at a groundbreaking ceremony to officially kick off a $24.5 million water main replacement project in Gary, Ind.
The project, which will replace or retire older steel and cast-iron pipe that has experienced numerous breaks, will be constructed along 6th and 7th Avenue from Wabash Avenue to Kentucky Street as well as several north-south streets in the area. The work will retire approximately five miles of water mains from the early 1900s and install nearly 11 miles of new water mains, ranging in size from 8” to 36”, over the next three years.
“When we purchased this system more than two decades ago, we knew significant investments were needed,” said Indiana American Water President Matt Prine. “Since that time, we have already invested more than $400 million in our water infrastructure in northwest Indiana.”
“These investments will improve the reliability of our distribution system and enhance system flows and firefighting capabilities across Lake and Porter counties,” Prine continued. “A lot has changed in the area since these pipes were installed more than a century ago, and these improvements will also help us to meet system demands due to growth in the area.”
Gary Mayor Jerome Prince is also pleased with the planned improvements. “Investment in water infrastructure is critical to the success of Gary and all of northwest Indiana,” said Prince. “Water from Indiana American Water sourced from Lake Michigan is considered a premium product in the region and is a key part of the high quality of life we depend on every day. We appreciate the investments the company is making in our community.”
Congressman Frank J. Mrvan also attended and spoke at the groundbreaking today. “Thank you to Indiana American Water and Mayor Jerome Prince for your partnership and commitment to the health and future growth of the City of Gary,” said Mrvan. “This action is more than an investment in pipes, it is an investment in people. Today’s investment not only benefits current residents and small businesses, but also creates future job opportunities and a thriving economy for everyone.”
The project is being constructed by Rex Construction and design and inspection services for the job are provided by DLZ.
Indiana American Water also provided an update on progress it has made in removing lead service lines across the state and in northwest Indiana. Indiana American Water was the first water utility in the state to file a lead service line plan following passage of House Enrolled Act 1519 in 2017, which contained, among other things, a process for water utilities to obtain authority to replace customer-owned lead service lines, even through the lines are not owned by the utility.
Indiana American Water estimates that there were as many as 55,000 lead service lines in use just a few years ago in its service areas across the state, with about two-thirds of those located in northwest Indiana.
According to Prine, “Since our lead service line replacement was approved, we have already replaced or retired approximately a third of those lines statewide, including nearly 12,000 lead service lines in northwest Indiana at a cost of more than $33 million.”
Prior to World War II, it was not uncommon in some communities for lead to be used for the water service line connection between a house or building and the utility water main. In northwest Indiana, lead service lines were installed in some areas as recently as the early 1970s. Indiana American Water routinely samples for lead in its water and provides corrosion control treatment to mitigate potential threats and continues to be in compliance with state and federal regulations.
About Indiana American Water
Indiana American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.32 million people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing.