New water distribution system to replace pipes from the 1940s

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Vance Air Force Base officials broke ground on a $29 million water distribution project April 8.

Col. Jay Johnson, the 71st Flying Training Wing commander, presided over the groundbreaking with Chief Master Sgt. Kristy Earls, the 71st FTW command chief; Col. Paul Miller, the 71st Mission Support Group commander, and leadership from ASRC Federal Field Services and Southwind Construction Company. 

The new water distribution system will replace 1940s-era pipes on the industrial portion of the base over the course of 24-30 months.

While there will be scheduled water outages, they will occur primarily after hours and on weekends to minimize the impact to the mission. Base housing will not be affected, since the water is not from the same source as the industrial side of the base.

“This project has been a long time in the making,” said Miller. “It continues projects we’ve completed over that last few years that really sets Vance up for long-term resiliency.”

Over 10 miles of water mains and service lines will be replaced with PVC piping, ensuring high-quality water delivery. Over 75 percent of the existing fire hydrants on base will be replaced, and as the project nears completion, the current above ground water tower and the existing pump house will be demolished.

“While I’m happy to see the World War II era cast-iron pipes replaced,” said Johnson, “I’ll be sad to see our iconic water tower torn down. It’s been a defining feature on base for decades.”

The old tower will be replaced with a new structure on the north side of the base, storing three times the current water volume.