Carlisle considers complete water main replacement

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Carlisle is considering a complete replacement of its water main system in a project that could take as long as five decades and cost millions of dollars.

Engineers found some of the water pipes that run through the borough date back to the 1800s, so a replacement is way overdue.

But when there’s even just a little bit of road construction, local businesses are affected. Hamilton’s on High Street is one of them.

“Your regular customers are older,” employee Olga Zarkadas said. “They don’t want to deal with that so they avoid town.”

That could happen if Carlisle follows through with the plan to replace more than 80 miles of underground pipes.

“This is long past due,” borough manager Matt Candland said, referencing some pipes that are more than 100 years old. “We keep pretty good information of where those main breaks are, and it’s those old pipes.”

Replacement wouldn’t happen all at once. The borough would focus on one to two miles per year, which could cost around $1 million to $2 million per year.

“I think the only way you get money is from the rate payers,” Candland said.

He says it would be a minimal impact; no more than a two- to four-percent increase on a quarterly water bill. But it may not be so minimal on the daily commute for the next 50 years.

“By the time we get through all the old pipes, the pipes that are kind of old now will be really old then,” he said.

Still, at Hamiltons, even with the possibility of inconvenienced, possibly fewer customers, nobody seems to care.

“It’s going to be a little inconvenient, but you got to do it,” customer Gene Quigley said.

“We should make sure that we’re not like the City of Flint,” Jon Thomas said.

Carlisle borough officials will discuss the plan over the coming months. A decision is expected in the fall.

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