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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Official contends aging pipes in The Villages need to be replaced

William Jenness

A Community Development District 1 official contends that the numerous water main breaks in The Villages are proof that aging pipes need to be replaced.

CDD 1 Vice Chairman William Jenness at Friday’s board of supervisors meeting pointed to mill and overlay work which took place in March in Villa De Laguna, Villa De La Vista South and North and the San Pedro Villas.

“They did a very fine job,” said Jenness, noting that the work was paid for by maintenance assessment fees paid by residents of CDD 1.

The paving work was part of CDD 1’s long-term capital improvement plan.

But two days after the work was completed in Villa De Laguna, a water main broke.

“The water main broke and that brand new pavement had to be dug up. That means we have to start the patch process all over again,” Jenness said.

A paving crew was at work March 23 at Villa De La Vista South.

He pointed to the aging pipes and said a long-term strategy for replacing the pipes should be considered by the North Sumter County Utility Dependent District, which oversees utilities in Community Development Districts 1 through 11.

RELATED STORY: Water man break disrupts business at Colony Plaza.

Deputy District Manager Kenny Blocker said it’s nearly impossible to predict when a pipe could break.

“It’s a Mother Nature issue. It could be lightning. The ground could move. It’s a matter of bad timing when you have to replace it,” Blocker said.

However, Jenness, who previously served on the Architectural Review Committee, countered that perhaps advancements in technology since the decades when the pipes were originally laid could fare better than the Polybutylene pipes that can become “brittle” over time.

He said it’s time for NSCUDD to consider a long-term strategy for replacing the pipes.

“An act of God today could be a tree root tomorrow,” he said.

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