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Columbia City Council to vote on setting aside almost $1 million for water pipe contractors

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Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 9:18 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbia City Council is scheduled to vote on moving almost $1 million to pay for private contractors to fix water pipes.

The move comes amid staffing shortages and the resulting back-up in calls facing Columbia Water.

Assistant City Manager Clint Shealy said the utility is facing a 32 percent vacancy rate. When coupled with COVID-19 quarantines, he said the utility is facing a backlog in projects.

The companies help fill the demand for Columbia Water services on fixing leaks.

If approved, the money will go toward financial “pots” that the companies could draw compensation from on an as-needed basis to assist Columbia Water in running calls.

The city council will get the opportunity at its meeting on Tuesday to move the following amounts to the following contractors:

  • Carolina Tap and Bore, Inc. : $250,000
  • Lake Murray Utility Company, Inc. : $350,000
  • G. H. Smith Construction, Inc : $350,000

If approved, the bump will result in new budgets for the companies as follows:

  • Carolina Tap and Bore, Inc. : $1,500,000
  • Lake Murray Utility Company, Inc. : $1,150,000
  • G. H. Smith Construction, Inc : $1,200,000

Shealy said the money is expected to run through the end of the fiscal year (late June) but if the manpower lags and leaks spike, more could be needed.

WIS spoke with a neighbor on Kildare Drive who criticized the company for only responding to a leak on Monday when he had called in September.

Columbia Water crews were on the scene when WIS arrived.

Shealy said sometimes there are delays based on prioritization.

“A lot of times service line leaks or things like that do get pushed out longer than we would hope, but again we try to prioritize public safety and making sure the leaks on the main infrastructure, main thoroughfares are being addressed first. We want to get our response time down, part of why we’re trying to get contractors to help us with that as well during this period,” he said.

The city council meeting is at 2 p.m. at Columbia City Hall.

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