Inside the Nelsonville water treatment plant
Nelsonville water treatment plant [Ayden Crowley | WOUB]

Overhaul of Nelsonville water line is coming soon

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ATHENS, OHIO (WOUB) – Nelsonville residents have been struggling with disruptions in their water supply for months, from restaurants having to temporarily close to Nelsonville-York High School not being able to open for the day.

But repairs to the unreliable water line will soon be underway.

The city plans to install a new water main line and new pipes beneath the streets of Nelsonville. Crews are waiting on a final piece before installation begins. This repair has been needed since a line burst in the summer 2021.

“A couple years ago the primary line developed a leak in it and (that) developed into a 30-foot water fountain in the middle of the river,” City Manager Scott Frank said.

This break left the entire city relying on a single main line.

Frank said almost half of the city’s water supply is lost due to leaky pipes in the system, contributing to an increase in cost and environmental damage.

Thanks to a $5.4 million grant from the state through Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio project, the city will be able to repair these lines.

Nelsonville water treatment plant sign
A sign at the Nelsonville water treatment plant explains when the facility was built. [Ayden Crowley | WOUB]
On Oct. 10, service director Jason Coen announced the start to the overhaul of the water system.

“There’s been a lot of neglect throughout Nelsonville over the years, and you can’t just blame one person; it goes deep,” said Coen. “We are trying to change that to where in future years, it’s easier for them and it will be better for the citizens in town because now they can stop and fix things faster.”

Frank said these improvements will cover numerous challenges Nelsonville residents currently face.

“Nine main water lines are going to get replaced, so (for) these folks that live on those streets, their water service will become more reliable,” Frank said. “And then, as a whole, the boil orders will reduce and then the water loss will significantly decrease as well.”

Frank hopes the project will be done by the end of 2023, but understands that all of the changes will take time, so completion could push into 2024.

Regardless, it’s a project that Nelsonville residents are eager to see completed as they’ve dealt with nearly 10 boil orders just this year.

A trailer to get equipment to repair sights is expected to be completed next week.