Water Distribution System Improvements

Borough of Jim Thorpe Jim Thorpe, PA



The Borough of Jim Thorpe decided to tackle its lingering water distribution system problems that included 60% unaccounted-for water loss, as well as poor fire protection. The Borough replaced approximately 20,000 feet of century old waterlines, and approximately 500 water service connections which were beyond repair, along with an old steel storage tank.

Solution Details

Jim Thorpe Borough is bisected by the Lehigh River separating it into a natural East and West sides. After several months of gathering system flow and pressure data, we redesigned the distribution system for both the “West” and “East” sides of Jim Thorpe.

On the “West Side” of town, new water lines were installed down Broadway (street). A challenging network of utilities in the route, required the new water lines to be installed around two sanitary lines, two and three existing water lines, two different gas lines, a storm sewer, and an underground stone creek archway that needed to be crossed four times.

The West Side downtown area was broken into two separate pressure zones to better manage the high pressures. A new 12-inch waterline, 10,000 feet long, was constructed from the water treatment plant through the winding and congested road to the bottom of Jim Thorpe. Upon completion, the West Side downtown flows were reduced from over 400,000 gallons per day to less than 90,000 gallons per day, a reduction of over 75%. Fire flows were increased from 400 gpm to over 2,000 gpm, a five-fold increase.

The North Street water line project on the “East Side” of town involved solving some high pressure problems by dividing the system into additional pressure zones for better control. Replacing a water storage tank was recommended since the existing tank was beyond its life and in need of significant repairs.

The East Side area was split into three pressure zones and 10,000 feet of new transmission main was installed in a location to serve as a “backbone” to the water system. Several pressure regulating vaults will be used in order to reduce high system pressures from 140 psi to 110 psi. The combination of a new transmission main and proper pressure zones, increased hydrant flows throughout the entire water system an average of three times their original capacity.

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20,000 LF of waterlines replaced

75% reduction of water flows in downtown

5x increase in downtown fire flow pressure

3x increase in East fire flow pressure

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