VANCE AIR FORCE BASE — The water system serving the working side of Vance Air Force Base was installed the same year pilot training began, in 1941. A $25 million project to replace the aging cast-iron water system and water tower is scheduled during fiscal year 2022.

Between now and then, a chlorine-booster system went online May 26 to ensure continued safe drinking water for the Airmen, civilians and contractors working on base.

The water in base housing comes from the City of Enid’s water system, a separate supply than the working side of the base.

More than $85,000 in material cost and 1,600 labor hours went towards installing the chlorine booster as an interim solution to a full water-distribution system replacement, said Maj. Allen Batiste, the 71st Installation Support Squadron commander.

The bioenvironmental engineering department at Vance routinely tests chlorine levels three times a week and looks for coliform bacteria six time a month. While the chlorine levels have been lower than required, no coliform bacteria has been detected in the past two years.

According to Batiste, the aged cast-iron water system presents a significant challenge to maintaining chlorine levels. The pipes deteriorate the chlorine levels at an accelerated rate. The chlorine-booster system will overcome that challenge until the cast-iron system can be replaced.

The $25 million water-system replacement project includes a new 1.5 million gallon water tower to replace the current 500,000 gallon tower. A water treatment plant and booster pumps will be housed in the base of the new tower.

Construction is scheduled for fiscal year 2022 and will take 24 months to complete once ground breaking is approved.

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