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Town Talk: NUPU partners to offer new program

We are pleased to announce a new program to further enhance our utility services to residents. New Ulm Public Utilities has entered into a partnership with Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), a HomeServe Company – a leading provider of home repair solutions – to provide optional repair service plans to our resident homeowners.

The service plans offered to New Ulm homeowners through SLWA are affordable solutions to protect them from the cost and inconvenience water and sewer service line leaks on their property. As you may know, many of our residents become frustrated when they discover a broken water pipe and then learn that the repair is their responsibility. Homeowners are often unaware these types of repairs are not covered by basic homeowner’s insurance policies or by us. The Utility recognized that one way we could address this problem is to partner with an organization that offers an optional service program that would protect our homeowners from the cost and inconvenience of this type of repair.

The New Ulm Public Utilities and SLWA have worked together to tailor the program to meet the needs of our residents. The marketing, customer service and repairs, using local, licensed and approved contractors, will be managed entirely by SLWA.

What you need to know

• New Ulm residents will receive an introductory mailing to inform you about optional exterior water or sewer service line repair plans available through SLWA. Because we have an agreement with SLWA, the City of New Ulm/New Ulm Public Utility logo will appear on the mailings, which will clearly state that the program is voluntary and is administered by SLWA, not the City orUtility.

• The Exterior Water Service Line Coverage is available for $5.75 per month, while the Exterior Sewer/Septic Line Coverage plan is available for $7.75 per month and the Interior Plumbing and Drainage Coverage is available for $9.99 per month. Services are billed monthly, quarterly or annually directly through SLWA.

• SLWA plan holders have access to a repair hotline that is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and repairs are performed by local, licensed and insured contractors.

• New Ulm homeowners can learn more about these optional plans and SLWA by visiting www.slwofa.com or calling toll-free 1-866-922-9006.

• Founded in 2003, Service Line Warranties of America, together with its parent company, HomeServe, has partnered with more than 1,000 leading cities, municipalities, and utilities to provide repair service plans that offer peace of mind and convenience. The SLWA program maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is recognized as a trusted source of utility line service plans and endorsed by the National League of Cities.

The Reason We

Seal Coat Roadways

By Jeff Hoffman

Interim Public Works Superintendent

Studies by the Asphalt Institute and the Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association show that seal coating surface treatments provide low-cost, all-weather surface for light to medium traffic loads. The Street Department staff is dedicated to maintaining the streets and alleys in the most efficient manner possible. Therefore, seal coating in conjunction with crack filling has become a routine task performed by the Street Department staff to maintain the asphalt pavement in New Ulm.

These same studies indicate the optimum time to apply a seal coat is every five to seven years. They also state, “For a successful seal coat, an existing pavement must exhibit minimal structural distress.” When an asphalt pavement is exposed to sun, wind and water, the asphalt hardens, or oxidizes. This causes the pavement to become more brittle. As a result, the pavement will crack because it is unable to bend and flex when exposed to traffic and temperature changes. A seal coat combats this situation by providing a waterproof membrane that not only slows the oxidation process but helps the pavement to shed water, preventing it from entering the base material.

A secondary benefit of seal coating is an increase in the surface friction it provides. This is accomplished by the additional texture the cover aggregate adds to the pavement. With time, traffic begins to wear the fine material from an asphalt pavement surface. This results in a condition referred to as raveling. When enough of the fine material is worn off the pavement surface, traffic is driving mostly on the coarse aggregate. As these aggregate particles begin to become smooth and polished, the roadway may become slippery, making it difficult to stop quickly. A seal coat increases the pavement texture and increases the surface friction properties.

During a typical year of seal coating, the Street Department uses about 50,000 gallons of emulsion oil and about 1700 tons of aggregate. This translates to about 10 miles of streets. Alleys require much less material per block because of the narrow width.

In order to maximize the useable life of an asphalt pavement, the Street Department’s most important responsibility is to perform the right maintenance at the right time in the life of that pavement. Seal coating is one of the types of maintenance that is so important.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss our seal coating program, call Jeff Hoffmann, Interim Public Works Superintendent, at 359-8296.

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