Nothing good on television these days?
Don't try to tell that to Richard Hedge, superintendent of the Greencastle Water and Wastewater Department.
Maybe it wasn't "CSI: Greencastle" or "Greencastle, 46135" he was watching, but Hedge was thrilled with what he saw being televised recently.
Of course, in his line of work, it was the insides of a city water line being televised so its condition could be analyzed via video monitoring.
Not so exciting? Think again.
A month ago, Hedge was betting on at least a $100,000 repair project to the transmission line along North Jackson Street from Earp Street to Shadowlawn Avenue. And that was an optimistic option. If excavation work encountered rock along the way, the cost was expected to triple, Hedge told the Greencastle Board of Works back on Jan. 18.
That's when board members suggested running a camera through the 12-inch line to scope out the location and extent of the problem.
"If we knew what was under there, it may make people feel better," board member Thom Morris said at the time.
Morris was available for Wednesday's meeting to realize just how right he was.
"The line has cracks in it," Hedge reported, "but most of them are within the first 40 feet. There is a belly in it, but that's OK since it's a water line.
"Everything under the railroad is fine, so that's a good thing."
"No, that's a great thing," board member Trudy Selvia responded.
It means the water line repair project apparently does not involve a 40-foot section under the CSX tracks.
And that means the city won't be on the hook for boring under the tracks, inspection fees, permitting, flagmen or anything else the railroad likely would have required had that project disturbed the soil in its right-of-way.
"And permission," Mayor Sue Murray said.
"That could have taken who knows how long," Hedge said, indicating he anticipated the biggest hold-up in the whole project being efforts to gain CSX approval. Now that does not appear necessary.
The water line runs 285 feet from Earp Street to the center line of the railroad tracks beside the old Monon Restaurant, but it appears as though only 120 feet of repair to the pipes will be needed.
"When we go out 120 feet we'll be smack in the middle of the road (U.S. 231)," Hedge said, "so there are some things logistically we still have to look at but the good thing is we don't have to worry about the railroad."
And instead of an anticipated $100,000 or $300,000 project to put one of the main tributaries flowing from the plant to the standpipe back into service, the cost will be far less.
On Wednesday, Hedge mentioned $3,000 for pipe and fittings. Even with labor, he figures the total cost likely will be less than $10,000.
The transmission line is part of the old original water line put in with a mule team back in the late 1800s.
Longtime Water Department employee Ed Phillips, whose late father Leon was water superintendent for many years, said city workers have seen the date 1887 or 1897 stamped into the cast-iron pipe during previous repairs to the old transmission line.
The water line was taken out of service due to the leaks, Hedge said, explaining that no water has been running through the line since January 2011.
"So we'd like to get that back up and running," he said.
The cracks apparently were the result of an earlier slip-lining effort in which plastic pipe being inserted into the ductile iron pipe got twisted and turned in such a way that it caused stress fractures and/or got caught and damage on mechanical joints inside the line.