Although construction of the new water tower has not hit full steam, many improvements have been made to the City of Brazil's water system, particularly the lines and hydrants.
"All of the distribution lines have been completed, with the exception of those that will be tied directly into the tower at Craig Park," Brazil Assistant Supervisor of Water Distribution Stoney Lalen told The Brazil Times Thursday. "In addition, all of the lines are at least 6-inch lines or larger, many of which are upgrades from what used to be either 2 or 4 inches."
Lalen added a total of 37 new hydrants have also been installed throughout the city, as well as in the Interstate-70 area in preparation for another tower near Frontage Road.
"The vast majority of the hydrants are completely new as some of the areas had a wide span between plugs," he said. "Starting next week, we will begin installation of about 80 more hydrants."
According to Lalen, the city is being split up into quadrants and about 20 hydrants will be installed in each of the areas.
With an aging water meter system, the city is also in the process of replacing 1,000 meters.
Lalen told The Brazil Times the new meters will be linked to a Mobile Automatic Meter Reading system, which can be electronically checked and monitored for issues.
"So far, about 200 of the meters have been installed since we started about a month ago," he said. "We are focusing on installing the meters in subdivisions first because they are some of the older areas in the city."
Lalen said customers can anticipate a short interruption in water services as each new meter is placed.
"It only takes about 10 minutes or so to put the new meters in, so the disruption isn't very long," he said.
However, residents in areas where the water lines were installed will have a bit longer to handle another inconvenience.
In recent weeks, the city has received complaints about debris from the installations left in residents' yards.
"We are aware of the complaints, but unfortunately work to rectify those situations will be done in the Spring due to the current weather conditions," Lalen told The Brazil Times. "B & T Drainage and Excavating (Marshall, Ill.), which is the company that installed the lines, is responsible for doing the cosmetic work."
Lalen said the work to be done includes leveling the land, re-pouring sidewalks, as well as seeding yards and patching or paving road cuts.
The city recently sent out flyers to residents on White Rock Road about the work to be done in the Spring.
"The complaints we received were mainly from residents living on White Rock Road, but all areas in which new lines were put in will be addressed," Lalen said. "As soon as things are thawed, work will begin and we really appreciate the residents' patience and cooperation with the contractors and the Water Department."
Lalen also expressed gratitude with all those involved in making the improvements happen.
"Everyone is working hand-in-hand with Water Supervisor Jake Raubuch and Water Consultant Dick Vanatti to make sure everything is going along smoothly," he said. "This is a huge project that wouldn't be as far along as it is without them, or the hard work of Mayor (Ann) Bradshaw, the City Council and contactors to help benefit the customers and make the city's water system safer as a whole."