The City of Cocoa and its Utility Department has approximately 17,000 residents and has implemented an effective change in how it manages the underground infrastructure. The utility is focusing on a proactive strategy: thoroughly taking stock of the water distribution system’s conditions, systematically setting priorities for repairing or replacing the lines, valves and other assets, and better deploying manpower and technology to get the job done. City officials have been willing to preside over increasing budgets for both operations and capital improvements, approving bond issues as well as rate increases of about 5 percent per year to cover the rising costs.
The City has had a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sewer infrastructure and it is currently being used at its best capacity. Cocoa’s water system began growing when the city started taking over water service for nearby communities with declining well-water quality in the 1950s. Nearby Air Force facilities needed water, which created an opportunity to extend service to the coast and establish better-quality wells. After the National Aeronautics and Space Administration established the national space program’s primary launch site at Cape Canaveral, the system continued to expand. Recently, a series of assessments were required to uncover the functionality of a 280-square-mile service area. The area was divided into four quadrants, and the survey team tested and exercised nearly all of the 20,400 inline valves and 6,000 hydrants, identifying those needing repairs or replacement. Four percent of the fixtures needed major repairs that could be completed immediately. The utility also recently completed replacement of 4,500 feet of 8-inch water main in Cocoa Beach.
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