WHEATLAND, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Wheatland Town Council President Brett Dawson wasn’t sure how long the town has dealt with serious issues with its waterlines.

“It’s been years,” he said. “It’s been a major issue probably about 10 years would be my guess.”

Dawson, who took office in January of 2020, said repairing the waterlines has been a priority over the last two years.

“That was the number one issue. Our first meeting we started discussions, and we actually started discussions with engineers [February of 2020.] So a month in was when we opened up this whole project,” he said.

Plans have been finalized for a $4 million dollar project to replace all of Wheatland’s waterlines and fire hydrants. Construction is set to start in the next few days, and Dawson said many residents have expressed relief.

“The majority of people are happy about it, it’s a giant need. Especially people with children that are having to take baths, or the lack of baths because of no water. Or when you have a water line break, your water gets dirt and stuff in it, and you don’t want to start running your water and have brown water running out,” Dawson said.

Resident Bob Hess said the problems in the area were persistent.

“We have quite a few breaks in the line. At least one a month,” Hess said. “But the lines are so old, if they’re going to fix this one, three others break.”

The original waterlines were put in place in the 1940’s, according to Dawson. He said an audit completed by the state in 2020 reported about 70% of the town’s water was lost before it reached residents.

The work is projected to be finished in 2024. For residents like Hess, they are relieved a solution is finally on the way.

“It’ll help immensely. Because if someone is out of water you can’t do anything,” Hess said. “No water is a huge thing.”