Midnight work on courthouse square part of routine meter upgrade by Bloomington utilities

When a city of Bloomington utilities (CBU) crew is out around midnight busting up a street with heavy equipment, it often means there’s been a water main break.

But on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, it was some routine updates that brought the CBU crew out to the west side of the courthouse square on College Avenue.

According to workers on the scene, confirmed on Wednesday morning by CBU communications manager Holly McLauchlin, Tuesday night’s project involved upgrading the water service to the building on that side of the square.

Specifically, the crew was installing a new meter pit and meter. According to McLauchlin, it is best practice to have the water meter outside, near the main. That allows CBU to do maintenance on the meter without going into someone’s home or business. It also helps make clear what parts of the water system are CBU’s job to maintain, and what parts are the property owner’s responsibility.

McLauchlin wrote in response to an emailed question from The B Square that many buildings in Bloomington’s downtown area still have meters on the inside. When it makes sense to do the work, over time CBU will be moving those meters to locations outside the buildings, McLauchlin added.

Future work could also be scheduled for the middle of the night. McLauchlin wrote that the supervisor on last night’s work is Larry Hardin, who tries to schedule such projects during the overnight hours. At that time, there’s less impact on customers due to the water shutoff. And there’s less vehicle traffic on the street.

McLauchlin described Hardin as a 33-veteran of CBU who is “a great problem solver, and an inspiring leader to his crew.”

On Tuesday night, after the initial digging, the crew exposed the water main in what looked like a pretty delicate operation involving high-pressure water combined with a vacuum truck. The crew working on the project reported the date stamped on the pipe was 1891, which was consistent with the photographic evidence.

Based on previous B Square reporting, that would make it the oldest water main in the city.

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