NANTICOKE, Pa. -- A project to replace miles of water mains started Thursday in Luzerne County. Pennsylvania American Water expects to replace two miles of underground water mains throughout Luzerne County this fall.
The goal is to prevent old lines from breaking and improve water quality.
Contractors used heavy equipment to tear up streets in the Honey Pot section of Nanticoke as they began replacing water mains -- part of a $1.7 million project.
Pennsylvania American Water says the work here and in three other communities will improve reliability, reduce disruptions, and provide better pressure for firefighting.
"Each year, we take a look at our system and where we have a history of main breaks or water quality issues, and that's where we focus our investments every year," said Pennsylvania American Water official Susan Turcmanovich.
People who live in this part of Nanticoke say they're no strangers to water main breaks.
"It was a few months ago and we were out of water until they got it fixed," Jeffrey Capps said.
"We weren't able to take showers or anything and the toilet water was dirty. It was kind of weird so I couldn't brush my teeth or anything," Alexis Nedolny said.
Pennsylvania American Water says these new pipes will replace water mains that date back to the 1880s.
"In this area in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, we have about 1,700 miles of pipe and we're on a cycle where we replace about one percent of that every year," Turcmanovich said.
Once work in Nanticoke is complete, the project will move to Swoyersville, Larksville, and Plymouth.
Here are the streets affected:
- Harris Street
- Carver Street
- Coxe Street
- Keech Street
- Susquehanna Avenue
- East Railroad Street
- Beade Street
- Sweitzer Lane
- Church Street
- Avenue A
- Avenue B
- Oliver Street
- Park Avenue
- Bond Avenue
- Stock Avenue
"Customers will not see any disruption in their service. We will get to a point where we will need to transfer their line to the new main, and at that point, they might just be out of water for a few hours," Turcmanovich explained.
The company hopes to finish the water main replacements before the end of the year. Repaving the streets will likely have to wait until the spring.