GRANGEVILLE – An ordinance passed by the Grangeville City Council last week will now require electrical or communication facilities installed underground to be placed in conduit.
Council approved the ordinance at its Oct. 7 meeting. The rule looks to provide better protection for underground facilities and allow public works to track these installations for future reference when work may be conducted in their locations.
“Direct-burying cable lines provides no protection from backhoes,” explained public works director Bob Mager. “Even with a good operator, there’s a chance he could nick it. And fiber optics cable is expensive.”
Prior to this ordinance, public works would receive plans for proposed facilities installations; however, the city had no ability to require these be installed in conduit. Mager said he has encouraged installation on projects, such as one last year up South Florence Street, and another line that went along the truck route to service the U.S. Forest Service.
“That worked well for us,” Mager said, on the truck route installation. “As much as it’s growing out there, we’d be fighting that cable forever.”
The ordinance states facility installation should be above ground, if practical; otherwise, below ground installation shall be in conduit. Relocations or rearrangements of ground facilities necessitated by such projects as road widening or sewer and water main work shall be in conduit.
Also, the ordinance states installations cannot be conducted between Nov. 1 through March 1. Mager explained the weather, specifically accumulated snow and snowstorms, create problems for city crews to conduct locates for installation. The ordinance allows for a council-granted variance to this, such as in the case of when weather is not an issue.
“Do you have any idea how many private lines are in the city? Do you have that documented? The reason I ask is, when we call locates in, fiber optic is not part of the locate,” said councilor Scott Winkler.
“My current crew knows it, that’s it,” Mager said, and they document what they are aware of. The ordinance, he explained, provides a system to formally establish install locations that, otherwise, would be found by digging for them.
In other city business:
Mager provided an update on Park well, stating a repair crew was to start work on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Due to the duration the well has sat inactive, the plan is to have required water testing conducted and the facility back in operation by Nov. 1. Repair crews are planned to return in March to go through Myrtle well for detailed inspection for issues.
Park well, the city’s second largest producer, went down July 21 due to a bad pump. Myrtle well suffered a mechanical failure Aug. 26 and was out of production – necessitating citywide rationing – until emergency repairs brought it back in service two days later.
Until Park well is back in commission, city-wide restrictions remain in place for outside lawn and landscaping irrigation.