Emporia City Commissioners held a discussion about a proposed distribution water model during a brief study session Wednesday morning.

The distribution water model would be designed by BG Consultants using specialized computer-aided design software, with a total cost of around $125,000.

BG Consultants Branch Manager Bruce Boettcher said the model would aid in mapping out the city’s potable water system. The model would be created using existing GIS maps already in use by the city. Then, information on the maps would be verified through testing processes. Information such as the size and type of piping as well as the location, will be easily updated via the model.

Boettcher said the city would also be able to run tests on the water lines using the model based on different scenarios. This will help the city plan for upgrades and infrastructure improvements in the coming years.

“It’s really the more information; the better information, the better product you get out of it,” he said. “Then we actually get boots on the ground and go out into the system and we flush hydrants and we know what we would expect out of a certain hydrant at a certain location, and we verify that. Or, if it’s something different, we mine down further into that.”

City Engineer Jim Ubert also updated commissioners on the progress of the Sixth Avenue water line project at Merchant Street, which has congested traffic in the area over the last few weeks.

Progress is being made and Ubert said traffic lanes could be reopened within the next few weeks.

“They have the 10-inch main line in there and it connects on to Commercial,” he said. “It’s not connected to Merchant yet. The four-inch line, the one that’s leaking, is still in service.”

Ubert said some coordination needed to be done with plumbers working on Haag Management’s ongoing project at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Merchant Street before the new 10-inch line could be fully connected and put into use. That work is expected to begin early next week.

“After they get done — they probably have a couple days worth of work — the city’s contractor can get back in and disconnect and abandon that four-inch line,” he said.

Some additional work may also be done at Sixth Avenue to replace some leaky valves and other issues that were discovered in the course of the project.

“Some valves have started leaking and we also had a waterline blow out two or three weeks ago,” he said.

Ubert said the additional work will be completed pending contractor costs and a permit extension from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

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