Tallassee gets $9.7M to modernize city’s gas pipes

Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 6:02 PM CDT
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TALLASSEE, Ala. (WSFA) - The city of Tallassee received a $9.7 million grant that will help modernize the city’s cast iron gas pipes.

The grant is a part of the Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization program, which aims to help modernize infrastructure that has been around for decades and, in some cases, even nearly two centuries old.

Tallassee Mayor Sarah Hill said the city narrowly avoided a potential catastrophe in May 2021 when a crowd was at the high school gymnasium for graduation.

“Multiple generations of kids and families there, our school administration, our teachers, and other guests were all there when the smell of gas started permeating throughout the building. Luckily, we narrowly avoided a problem and we were able to change locations,” she said.

Hill said the issue was brought to the City Council.

She said the city has spent over $650,000 over the last three years to work on old cast iron gas pipes. There are approximately 61 miles of gas lines and 35 miles of cast iron pipes across the city.

In 2020, the City Council took out a bond of $4.1 million to help address the remaining lines to continue the project of replacing the lines.

“We quickly realized again that that was not going to be enough,” Hill said. “So last year I was able to sign this grant application enthusiastically, hoping that we wouldn’t be the recipient and we would be here where we are today.”

The grant program was established by President Joe Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It provides nearly $200 million a year for a total of nearly $1 billion over five years for the modernization of municipality- and community-owned high-risk natural gas distribution pipes, as well as equipment to detect and mitigate leaks.

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