NEWS RELEASE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   FOR MORE INFORMATION:

AUGUST 19, 2013                                                     CHRISTIE BUTLER, 253-588-4423

 

LAKEWOOD WATER DISTRICT ANNOUNCES 50-YEAR

PIPE REPLACEMENT AND REHABILITATION PLAN

 

Supporting their customer-focused approach of “Our Water…Our Community…Our Future,” Lakewood Water District has announced plans to replace 180 miles of aging asbestos cement water pipes over the next fifty years.  These pipes are currently 50-70 years old and are at or near the end of their useful life.

The District’s R & R (Replacement and Rehabilitation) Program will ensure that Lakewood Water District customers continue to receive reliable, high-quality water service at one of the lowest rates in the region.

The need for the program was identified through an exhaustive review of all current facilities, examining leakage levels, pipe ages and types, the need for a secure, safe water delivery system, and budgetary requirements for current and future service.

“Our first priority is always service to our customers,” said Randy Black, General Manager.  “By planning and budgeting now for replacement of these aging pipes, we will avoid possible costly repairs due to pipe failures, potential service interruptions, and be able to take advantage of available financing and joint construction opportunities with other local utilities.  We work diligently to plan ahead and control costs while maintaining reliable, high-quality water and customer service.”

Financing for the project will be achieved through a combination of increased rates and debt, designed to reduce impact to today’s and future ratepayers while ensuring the financial security of the District.  “This combination of financing will mean the least possible impact to current rates, that the costs for existing and future ratepayers will be more aligned and that more distant future ratepayers will help shoulder the burden,” said Black.

Customers in Lakewood will see rate increases beginning in 2014, based on the size of their water service meter and total water usage.  The District Board of Commissioners approved a new rate structure, with a fixed fee based on the size of the customer’s meter.  An average bill for a 5/8” meter at 1500 cubic feet bi-monthly use will be $36.30 in 2014 vs. $29.40 in 2013.  Lakewood Water District will continue to have the lowest rates in Pierce County and among the lowest in the state.

Over the last couple of months, District managers have been meeting individually with large-meter water customers throughout the District.  Owners and residents in multi-family complexes with 5 or more meters were sent a letter briefly outlining the program and inviting them to a public forum to discuss the details of the program and how it would affect their complex.

A public open house to present the overall plan will be held Tuesday, September 10, 2013.  District customers will receive an invitation to the meeting, and information will be available on the District’s website www.lakewood-water-dist.org.

Details on the R&R program, a map of the District’s water mains that will be replaced, and information on the new rate structure are available at www.lakewood-water-dist.org

Customers are encouraged to visit the District’s website for ongoing details, including where pipe replacement work is scheduled to take place. In the days ahead, it will be available for Customers to register at www.lakewood-water-dist.org to receive email updates from the District.

Lakewood Water District was formed in 1943 to serve the Lakewood community.  The District currently serves nearly 17,000 customers, and nearly 61,000 people with 256 miles of water main.  Additionally, Lakewood Water District serves wholesale water to the Town of Steilacoom and other water purveyors in central Pierce County.  The District has 13 water tanks with a total capacity of 27 million gallons, pumped through 30 active wells, with a capacity to pump 34 million gallons a day.

District offices are located at 11900 Gravelly Lake Drive SW, Lakewood, WA  98499.  Phone number is 253-588-4423.