2015 has been a year of great change and transition for your Osceola Water Works. Much of it was spent making improvements to the business infrastructure as well as acquiring new equipment to benefit the entire Osceola community. Not all changes have been visible to the public, but all have saved money and substantially increased productivity.
One major step taken by OWW is the acquisition of new equipment and the completion of staff training. With the purchase of a backhoe, skid loader, concrete saw, dump trailer, and dump truck, the Water Works team was able to do repairs and installations without outsourcing, immediately recognizing a return on investment. At the end of March 2015, the Water Works crews completed a new water main and water service line installation on the 200 block of North East Street. This was the first, but not the last, successful installation Water Works had done with their own equipment and crew.
“Each water main break would set us back roughly $2500 when we outsourced,” Osceola Water Works Superintendent Brandon Patterson said. “We save about $2000 by doing the repairs ourselves. When we see, on average, 18 water main breaks per year, that’s a substantial savings of $36,000 a year that can be used for further improvements.”
Working with the homeowners on Southridge Road, Osceola Water Works installed a new water main in the 1200-1400 block. This replaced the outdated, shared service line with a new public water main that includes hydrants. Currently, there are 42 blocks of four-inch water line that need to be replaced with a larger size and ten fire hydrants that need to be updated to improve fire protection for Osceola residents. The Water Works Department is planning to replace at least three blocks of outdated water lines each year, further utilizing our dedicated staff and the new equipment.
Throughout 2015, many other improvements were realized, including the painting of the West Water Tower and addition of the new Osceola logo. In July 2013, distribution and office operations were consolidated into one building and this year the department is starting to cross-train current employees for both distribution and treatment, allowing more flexibility and efficiency. Previously, there were ten employees all together, at the plant and in town combined. Now the Water Works Department has a total of nine employees that includes office staff. Better training and repositioning of personnel has allowed OWW to do more work with less manpower, and to do it more cost-effectively.
There are many possibilities open to the department now that they have the equipment and training needed, and a main focus will be replacing and repairing water mains to improve consistency, safety, and overall water pressure throughout the city. While there are twenty-two blocks of water mains that have four or more recorded main breaks, 2016 will see replacement of two of them, with plans to repair or replace the rest in the near future. Twenty-six dead-end water mains will be looped back into the infrastructure to improve water flow and pressure for all customers.
In conjunction with the City Streetscape project, the Osceola Square will be getting some needed attention in 2016. Osceola Water Works will be working with the planners to include upgraded water lines and access around the square. The project will also include infrastructure installation on the 300 block of South Delaware and South Vale, the 600 block of West Cass, and the 500 block of West Cass and Lake View Drive.
In the ongoing battle against water taste and odor issues, all 8 carbon filters will be replaced at the treatment facility, further increasing your water quality.
As we progress into 2016, Water Works will continue to make improvements for the City of Osceola and all of our customers. Each year brings new challenges and opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the Water Works department. With the dedication of our Board members and our hard-working staff, you can rest assured the water quality, water access, and water security for the city will remain the focus of our team.