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Officials to vote on pipe video

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett officials will get a look at the county's oldest sewer pipes using video, if commissioners agree to a contract next week.

The Water and Sewerage Authority recommended a $11.25 million contract to use the technology to check on the status of 1,050 miles of pipes over the next five years.

Jeff Voss, a deputy director in the Department of Water Resources, said the assessment should give engineers the ability to prioritize pipe replacements and repairs for pipes 15 years or older.

The remainder of the county's 2,618 miles of pipes are made of PVC and ductile iron and could have a life of more than 30 years, but Voss said the pipes installed prior to 1993 are mostly from clay and concrete truss, which could fail.

"We're targeting the stuff that's critical at this point," Voss said, adding that another request will be considered next month to make emergency repairs.

Voss said he expects about 1 million linear feet of sewer line to be inspected this year, at a cost of about $2.2 million.

When asked by authority members about the logic of entering into a multi-year contract in the hard economic times, Voss said the contract allows for five years, but both the county and the contractor, Video Industrial Services, are only obligated for one year at a time.

"I think why we had such a good response and pricing is because of the times we are in now," Voss said, commenting on the eight bidders who sought the contract.