Hamilton Utilities Newsletter - In This Issue:
2016 Q3 in Review

The City of Hamilton experienced another significant rainfall event on Thursday, September 8, 2016, with the National Weather Service recording more than three inches of rain in less than three hours, and other locations reporting more than four inches of rain. Due to the excessive rainfall, localized street flooding occurred in several ares of the city including, but not limi ted to, Highland Par k, Gordon Avenue, Eaton Avenue, Symmes Avenue, Rhea Avenue, and Ross Avenue. City crews dispatched early in the morning to address resident concerns, as well as issues such as: debris on streets, missing manhole covers, and obstructed sanitary sewer pipes, catch basins, and storm sewer pipes. 

If residents experienced sanitary sewer backups in their basements related to this rain event, please call 513.785.7550 and select option 5 or use our 311 Service Request system to report them. City staff will investigate as soon as possible. If property was damaged due to sanitary sewer backups, residents may download an insurance claim form and submit it to the Department of Public Works at 345 High Street, Suite 520. Please make sure to include any necessary invoices, estimates and/or receipts pertaining to the property damage. 

As severe weather events will continue to happen, the City is actively pursuing measures to abate wet basement issues, particularly in areas that have been impacted more frequently. Since the June 2, 2016 flooding event the City has been aggressively investigating the storm and sanitary sewer systems. These efforts have been to determine both the rain event as well as possible solutions. The Public Works Department has been working with an engineering firm to develop the best solution. 

For the last two months, the City has also been performing smoke and dye tests in the Highland Park area in an attempt to identify "clean water" sources that can overwhelm sanitary sewers and lead to wet basement issues like those experienced by local residents on June 2, 2016, and again on September 8, 2016. As these sources are identified, the City will continue to work with residents to remove these clean water connections from sanitary sewers. 

In the meantime, to offer a means of protection for residents that have experienced wet basements during multiple 2016 rain events, the City is developing a program to offer impacted residents financial assistance to install sanitary sewer lateral check valves. During wet weather events such check valves are designed to prevent combined wastewater and stormwater from entering basements through basement drains and other plumbing fixtures. All residents who experienced wet basement issues during the June 2 and September 8 rain events are encouraged to contact the City to report wet basement issues and to schedule a basement evaluation and dye test. To report wet basement issues or to request a check valve application form, please call 513-785-7550 and select option 5, or call Utilities Customer Service at 513-785-7100

The City of Hamilton is committed to addressing stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure issues in the most timely and effective manner possible. 


LED Streetlight Conversion Master Plan

The City of Hamilton continues conversion of its approximately 9,000 incandescent  high pressure sodium (HPS) and mercury vapor streetlights to light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights. The City plans to replace all incandescent streetlights with LEDs over a 10-year period. 

In 2016, the second year of the program, City crews continue to replace incandescent streetlights with LED technology as maintenance issues arise. Through mid-September, City crews have replaced 371 streetlights with LED fixtures. Additionally, the City utilized Xtreme Powerline Construction during the first two weeks of June 2016 to replace an additional 704 streetlights.

In 2015, approximately 1,202 incandescent streetlights were replaced with LED fixtures, resulting in an estimated annual energy savings of more than 602,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh). 

LED technology offers a substantial reduction in energy consumption along with improved service. LED streetlights consume approximately one-third of the energy required by incandescent streetlights and last three to four times longer, reducing maintenance costs and improving service. Furthermore,  LED technology offers improved lighting quality - colors are more easily distinguished and greater light distribution uniformity results in fewer hotspots and dark areas, and improved driver safety.

Utility Pole Assessment & Replacement Program  

As of mid-August, the Electric Department and its consultant, Alden Systems, completed the survey and condition assessment of City electric utility poles which began in 2015. Alden Systems assessed the condition of each wooden pole, noted items such as missing access plates and exposed wiring on non-wooden poles, and identified electrical safety issues.  The survey included approximately 24,000 poles across the electric utility service area.

Additionally, Alden Systems staff collected Global Positioning System (GPS) location data on each pole, attached identification numbers, photographed each pole, and recorded all pole attachments for use in the Electric Department's Geographic Information System (GIS) and asset management system. 

Utilizing the utility pole data collected by Alden Systems, the City is able to prioritize pole replacements and address any issues identified during the survey to help ensure the electric system remains reliable and safe. As part of a pole replacement pilot program, Midwest Powerline Inc. was awarded a contract and successfully replaced 165 utility poles in 2016. The data collected by Alden Systems will be used to continue the pole replacement program in the future.

Questions regarding the Utility Pole Assessment and Replacement Program can be directed to Patrick Moore, Hamilton Associate Electrical Engineer, at 513.785.7259, or via email at patrick.moore@hamilton-oh.gov .

Taft Place Electric Underground Project

The first phase of the Taft Place Electric Underground Project was completed in mid-August. The project consisted of installing new electric conduit to replace existing, less reliable direct buried primary electric cables. The project will  increase electric system reliability for customers in Taft Place subdivision.  The second phase of conduit installation work on the Taft Place Feeder will go to bid by the end of 2016. Hamel Drive, Livingston Drive from Hamel Drive to Courtney Drive, Laura Court, and Stephanie Drive from Laura Court to NW Washington Boulevard will be impacted by the second phase of conduit installation work.

Natural Gas Main Replacement Program

The 2016 Miscellaneous Natural G as Main Replacement project began in June. The project involves replacing just over 5,100 feet of existing cast iron and steel natural gas mains with new plastic mains, and replacing just under 90 residential and commercial natural gas services. Work on Chase Avenue and Eaton Avenue has been completed, while Curtis Avenue, Hanover Avenue, and South 13th Street remain under construction. T his project is designed to help ensure continued reliable natural gas service for affected customers.

Water Main Replacement Program

T he 2016 Miscellaneous Water Main Replacement project began in June. The project consists of replacing approximately 2.8 miles of existing cast iron water mains with new ductile iron water mains, and replacing just over 260 residential water services. Work on Webster Avenue, Hollow Tree Court, and Westbrook Drive has been completed, while Susan Drive, Ohio Avenue, and the Highland Park area remain under construction.  Work also continues on the Pershing Avenue Water Main Replacement project, which involves replacing approximately 3,100 feet of water main on Pershing Avenue. Finally, the 2016 River Road Water Main Replacement Project involves replacing approximately 5,850 feet of water water main on River Road between Fairview Avenue and Joe Nuxhall Way/St. Clair Avenue. Work is tentatively scheduled to begin on River Road in Fall 2016. 

Sanitary Sewer Repair and Lining Program

From January to April 2016 approximately 800 feet of aging sanitary sewer main was removed and replaced, along with six sanitary sewer manholes, in the following locations:
  • S. Second Street between Long Street and Minster Street
  • Walnut Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Buckeye Street between N. Second Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Heaton Street at N. Seventh Street
  • Greenwood Avenue at Miami Street
  • Magnolia Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard alley
  • Pershing Avenue between Neilan Boulevard and S. Front Street
Additional sanitary sewer main repairs scheduled for Fall 2016 began in mid-September and include:
  • Long Street at S. Second Street
  • S. Third Street between Court Street and High Street
  • Chestnut Street between S. Front Street and S. Second Street
  • Court Street at S. Second Street
  • Dayton Street at N. Third Street
  • N. Second Street at Market Street
  • S. Front Street at High Street
  • Shuler Avenue between Grand Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue
Sanitary sewer lining work began in March 2016. The 2016 Sanitary Sewer Lining project includes lining approximately 10.5 miles of sanitary sewer main and reinstating approximately 1,520 sanitary sewer laterals at various locations throughout the city. To-date more than 8 miles of sanitary sewer main have been lined and more than 1,370 sanitary sewer laterals have been reinstated. 

Fire hydrants throughout the city are flushed and serviced annually each fall. This year, the process began on September 6 and will continue for approximately 3 to 5 weeks. Residents are advised to refrain from washing laundry between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday-Friday during these weeks. Flushing can loosen deposits in the lines, which can lead to discolored water. This water is safe to drink, but it is recommended that residents do not drink discolored water. If you notice discoloration, run the water in your home for 5 to 10 minutes or until it becomes clear. Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to call 513.785.7550 and select option 4 for the Natural Gas and Water Distribution Division. Read More

The City of Hamilton has partnered with the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities, ViaQuest Inc. and the InsideOut Studio to clean and paint fire hydrants in the downtown and Ward 2 areas. This is a pilot program that initially includes five hydrants downtown artistically painted and approximately 25 hydrants painted standard safety yellow in the Ward 2 area generally bounded by Pershing Avenue-Neilan Boulevard, Ludlow Street, and South Third Street. ViaQuest Inc. performed the painting preparation work of the fire hydrants while artists from InsideOut Studio creatively painted the five pilot fire hydrants downtown. ViaQuest will prepare and paint the 25 fire hydrants in Ward 2 with safety yellow paint color. With the success of the pilot program, the City anticipates expanding the program through the downtown and historic areas of the city with additional artistically painted fire hydrants, and continued safety yellow painting of fire hydrants throughout the city over the next nine years. 
Residents of 27 properties managed by Partnerships for Housing (PFH) in Hamilton will benefit from a new alliance between Efficiency Smart and PFH. Through the partnership, energy efficiency improvements such as free CFLs, low-flow shower heads, and weather-stripping will be installed at individual living units at no charge to the residents. 

"Our goal is to help those with developmental disabilities find a safe place they can call home in neighborhoods close to their families, friends and jobs," said Jim Steffey, Executive Director of Partnerships for Housing. "A part of accomplishing this is providing affordable and accessible housing. Partnering with Efficiency Smart to reduce the energy costs of these homes helps us achieve that goal."

The free energy efficiency improvements will be provided by Efficiency Smart, the City of Hamilton's energy efficiency service provider since 2015.  Read More
Upcoming Events
Monday, Oct. 3 - Saturday, Oct. 8

Join Hamilton Utilities in celebrating Public Energy Week 2016 from October 3-8 in conjunction with the American Public Power Association's 2016 Public Power Week and the American Public Gas Association's 2016 Public Natural Gas Week. Locally owned electric and natural gas systems mean local control, competitive costs, superior customer service, and economic benefits for the entire Hamilton community!  All Public Energy Week events are FREE and open to the public.

Educational Displays
Municipal Building lobby, 345 High Street
Monday, Oct. 3 through Friday, Oct. 7,  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Municipal Garage Open House
2210 South Erie Boulevard
Monday, Oct. 3, 4-7 p.m.

Customer Appreciation Cookout
Municipal Building plaza, 345 High Street
Thursday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

"Haunting of the Hamilton Power Plant" Presentation
Lane Public Library, 300 North Third Street
Thursday, Oct. 6, 5:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
*** same presentation will be given twice *** 

EmPower Hamilton Jam Session
Ryan's Tavern, 241 High Street
Saturday, Oct. 8, 5 p.m.-midnight
Thursday, Oct. 6 @ Lane Public Library 

The results of a recent paranormal forensics (paraforensics) investigation at the Hamilton Power Plant will be one of the features of the City of Hamilton's Public Energy Week celebration the first week in October. 

For a number of years, staff and contractors have reported unexplained "visitors" and other strange occurrences at the City of Hamilton Third Street Power Plant. Creepy Cincinnati Paraforensics volunteers will share the results of two recently completed investigations at the facility during a special "Haunting of the Hamilton Power Plant" presentation at the Hamilton Lane Public Library. The presentation will include a discussion of how the "ghost hunt" was conducted, equipment used during the investigation, and audio and video recordings obtained at the facility. Two presentations are scheduled at 5:15 and 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at the Lane Public Library, 300 North Third Street, Hamilton. The event is open to the public and there is no charge to attend these special presentations. Light refreshments will be served following the presentations.
Saturday, Oct. 8 from 5 p.m. - midnight @ Ryan's Tavern 

EmPower Hamilton (previously Make It Happen) is a City of Hamilton utility program that serves to help customers in need receive financial assistance with their utility bills. Through the EmPower Hamilton program, Hamilton utility customers can make one time or recurring donations on their utility bills to help support other customers in need. EmPower Hamilton donations are forwarded to the Emergency Money Fund (EMF) and the Salvation Army utility assistance programs for distribution. These organizations ensure 100% of donations are distributed to Hamilton utility customers who qualify for emergency assistance. 

Hamilton utility customers are frequently in need of assistance. This past winter 3,277 Hamilton families received more than $1 million in utility financial assistance from various service agencies. Hamilton Utility Customer Service representatives also work with customers in need to make payment arrangements to help them avoid disconnection. 

The EmPower Hamilton Jam Session was planned to help raise awareness about the EmPower Hamilton program. The Jam Session will take place at Ryan's Tavern on Saturday, October 8, 2016 from 5 p.m. to midnight. There will be live music, raffles and giveaways, testimonials from families who have received assistance, and opportunities for customers to learn about the EmPower Hamilton program. Representatives from EMF and Salvation Army will also be in attendance to share details about their utility assistance programs. The Jam Session is open to the public 21 years of age and older. A free will offering will be accepted for admittance with a valid ID.

Helpful Resources

The newly developed Landscape Guide for Developers, Businesses and Homeowners  provides information on construction and use of rain gardens and rain barrels as a means to manage storm water, reduce water bills, and improve the beauty of residential and commercial properties. The Landscape Guide also contains City landscape regulations; information on tree selection, planting, and maintenance; recommendations for establishing and maintaining healthy lawns; and other helpful landscaping tips. 

Additional information regarding wet basement causes and solutions, as well as storm water management resources, is available on the City website  here .
With colder temperatures just around the corner, furnaces will soon be kicking on in area homes and businesses. The tips provided below identify strategies to help you reduce your energy use and save money during the cool Fall and Winter months. 

Adjust the temperature.  When you are home and awake, set your thermostat to as low as is comfortable, and turn it back several degrees when you are asleep or out of the house. Also consider installing a low-cost programmable thermostat.

Take advantage of heat from the sun.  Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.  

Find and seal leaks.  Weather-strip, seal, and/or caulk leaky doors, utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Also install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.

Cover drafty windows.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, windows can account for 10 to 25 percent of your heating bill by letting heat escape. Use heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to reduce cold air infiltration.
Upgrade old windows with new energy efficient windows.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting new windows:
  • Low-E coatings on the glass reflect heat inside your home and reflect the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays outside your home.
  • Multiple panes of glass increase insulation and help maximize energy efficiency.
  • Low U-values or U-factors have the highest insulating properties.
Maintain your heating system.  Replace your furnace filter once a month, and schedule service for your heating system to find out what maintenance is required to keep the system operating efficiently.

Add insulation to your attic. If your existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating yourattic to at least R-30.  

Reduce heat loss from the fireplace. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning and ensure its seal is as snug as possible. When using the fireplace, open dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or the nearest window slightly (about one inch), close doors leading into the room, and reduce the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
Reduce holiday lighting costs. Use light-emitting diode (LED) holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays. 

Need Assistance from the City?
Utilities Customer Service   513.785.7100
New Service, Move In / Move Out, Billing Inquiries
Power Outage                       513.785.7550
Natural Gas Leak or Odor    911
Water Leak                            513.785.7550
Streets & Sewers                  513.785.7550
Kevin Maynard
Public Utiliti es Director
345 High Street, Hamilton, Ohio
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