O'boro school closed Monday due to water line break

2/04/2013 | Freemansburg, Pennsylvania

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - School official tell 14 News that class will be held on Tuesday after Owensboro High School was closed Monday because of a water line break in front of the school. It happened early Monday morning. Officials say there was no water being supplied to the school and crews were working to make repair.Once crews arrived here at the scene, they determined that just Owensboro High School was affected by the break.

That's because the problem's technically called a service line break and it meant that all water to the high school, bathrooms, cafeterias, and fountains was completely shut off. For the school, the decision to close was a no-brainer."So that made the call pretty easy. When we don't have water, we can't go to school," said David Johnson with Owensboro Public Schools.After that, word spread among staff, parents, and students."We have a pretty good process in place where the high school has an emergency phone tree, a text and an e-mail tree, where they start altering the staff," Johnson said.

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Silver Lake facing costly sewer repairs

6/07/2013 | Silver Lake, Wisconsin

Silver Lake is facing costly repairs to the village’s storm sewer system, which is blocked or collapsing in several places.The village’s engineer recently surveyed the entire system and identified areas in need of repair.The most urgent repairs are at Park and Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets. These repairs are estimated by the engineer to cost about $292,000, said Trustee Barbara Ironside at Wednesday’s Village Board meeting.In total, the village is facing about $500,000 in repairs.

Ironside said some of the repairs can no longer wait. Some people may experience sewer back-up during heavy rain events if repairs are not made.“If they are clogged or collapsing we need to fix them,” Ironside said. She moved that the board seek bids for the most urgent work at Park and Third, Fourth and Fifth streets . That was approved unanimously, with Trustee Pat Dunn absent.The board did not discuss in detail how to pay for the work. The storm sewer outlay account has about $140,000 in it, but that money cannot be all used in case there are other emergencies, Ironside said.

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Garrison Avenue storm drain to be repaired

6/03/2013 | Charleston, West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nearly a mile of 37-year-old storm sewer along the lower end of Garrison Road will be fixed this summer under a contract approved Monday by Charleston City Council members.But the $691,220 repair job won't necessarily keep the oft-flooded Magazine Branch any drier. The project is aimed at plugging holes in the bottom of the corrugated sewer pipe, and preventing further sinking of the road around the pipe, City Engineer Chris Knox said.The project starts at what Knox calls the trash rack, a giant steel grid aimed at straining out the larger pieces of debris that tumble down the hollow during gully-washers."There's three different-sized storm sewers that go up Garrison," he said. "It starts with an 84-inch sewer, 550 feet long. Next is 2,900 feet of 96-inch -- that's eight feet in diameter -- and turns into twin 72-inch sewers for the last 650 feet."

That's 4,100 feet in all, more than three-fourths of a mile of corrugated metal pipe, coated on the inside with about 2 inches of asphalt."We've had some issues with this storm sewer for the last eight years," Knox said.When the pipe was installed in 1976, 15 years after the notorious flood of 1961, workers backfilled around the storm sewer with pure sand, Knox said. Now, with holes in the bottom of the pipe, sand enters the sewer and washes down into the Elk River, causing the road around the pipe to settle. City workers are constantly patching the road, he said.The plan is to fix the pipe, not replace it, Knox said. "We'll place a reinforced wire mesh and install about 4 inches of shotcrete [spray-on concrete]."

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Broken sewer pipe from 1930's blames for 20-foot deep sinkhole in Fort Wayne flood levee

5/30/2013 | Fort Wayne, Indiana

FORT WAYNE, Indiana — Crews in Fort Wayne have started working to repair a broken sewer pipe that created a 20-feet-deep sinkhole in a flood levee.City public works spokesman Frank Suarez says the clay pipe installed in the 1930s failed and the rushing wastewater ate away the soil until it created a hole 10 feet across and 20 feet deep. The Journal Gazette reports 

The sinkhole was first reported Tuesday in the levee protecting Lakeside Middle School and its neighborhood from Maumee River flooding.Suarez says crews were able to set up a pump on Wednesday to drain the sinkhole and that repairs should be finished this week.

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Gluba: Davenport will address Garfield Street sewer backups

5/29/2013 | Davenport, Iowa

Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba responded Tuesday to sewer backups in multiple Garfield Street homes, saying the city may buy $1,500 shutoff valves for each affected homeowner.Heavy rain this spring has forced sewage to back up into more than a dozen basements in the neighborhood and residents say the only reason they were spared following Sunday's deluge is because rushing sewer water popped open a manhole cover at Garfield and Western Avenue."It's a mess over there," Gluba said. "It's most unfortunate. This has been the case for a number of years."Gluba said he met Tuesday with aldermen specifically to address the Garfield Street backups. One solution they came up with was for the city to buy back flow prevention valves for each home on a case-by-case basis.

He said residents would be responsible for shutting off the valve during heavy rain, but they would also be inconvenienced for a day or two without use of toilets and showers.Gluba said the city may also pay for damages to homes caused by sewer backups, though he didn't comment specifically on Ron and Linda Wiebold's case when asked if the city would help them recoup the $25,000 they say they paid to repair their basement and replace appliances after they got 3 feet of sewage backup in April.Gluba said the city will look at each claim individually. "We'll try to do what's right," he said. "This problem didn't just develop. It's been there for years."

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Sinkhole will take days to fill

5/28/2013 | Washington, District of Columbia

It will take the D.C. Department of Transportation three more days to fill a gaping sinkhole downtown, in what one official calls one of the most complex street repairs in the past decade.The sinkhole, located at 14th and F streets, is expected to be filled in by Friday, according to DC Water General Manager George Hawkins. Officials originally believed the hole was caused by a piece of concrete breaking a sewer line. But Hawkins said a preliminary investigation reveals a manhole blocked the sewer drain and caused rainwater to flow into the ground under the road.

The excess water eroded the dirt underneath the street, which caused a piece of concrete to fall onto the sewer line."This is very, very unusual," Hawkins said. "This is the most complex street repair that I've seen since working here, at least in the past decade."Hawkins said he did not know how the manhole was installed in the road, and that it wasn't one of DC Water's. It is still unclear to officials whether the manhole built into the ground initially penetrated the sewer line, or if the manhole slowly sank into it and cracked it.Because the sewer line is about 18 feet into the ground, crews had to slowly work their way down to gain access to it and assess the damage.

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Water Department cuts gas line

6/27/2013 | Leavensworth, Kansas

While trying to repair a water main break Thursday morning, a crew from the Leavenworth Water Department ended up breaking a natural gas line, officials said."We hate to hit those things," said John Kaufman, general manager of the Leavenworth Water Department, but it happens once in a while by accident.

Kaufman blamed Thursday's break on the location of the gas line being incorrectly marked. He said the water main break was reported around 3 a.m. Thursday in the area of Grand Avenue and 14 th Street. He said the break was in a six-inch water pipe.

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Wet Apartment Clues city to Sewer collapse

2/12/2013 | NYC, New York

Matthew Holota knew something was wrong when the toilet in his Washington Avenue apartment overflowed during heavy rains. But he never guessed it was a symptom of a much larger problem: The sewer pipe on his block between Myrtle and Park Avenues was collapsing, and needed immediate repair.After a months-long saga of overflows that culminated in two inches of water covering the floor of his apartment in October, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection began replacing the crumbling pipe two weeks ago — a permanent fix that will take until at least Feb. 22 to complete.“The first couple of times I didn’t think much about it,” Mr. Holota, 34, said. “It got worse and worse … certainly the city’s response to this issue means they’ve been taking it seriously.”

Mr. Holota has lived on the basement level of a townhouse on Washington Avenue since 2006. He said he noticed that his toilet overflowed with clear water during heavy rains, beginning late last summer. But when he returned home from work to find two inches of water coating the floor of his apartment in October, he contacted his landlord David Reid, who lives in the upper section of the townhouse.After consulting with a plumber on the morning of Oct. 18, Mr. Reid reached out to fellow Washington Avenue resident Barbara Sherman, the budget director for Council Member Letitia James. He also called the office of Assemblyman Joseph Lentol. Officials from both offices then contacted the DEP to ask someone to check if the water and sewer pipes were functioning correctly. Hours later, a crew arrived to patch up the sewer, but determined, using a camera they lowered underground, that the 15-inch sewer pipe was cracking and in dire need of repair.

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Editorial: sewer-sytem repairs can't be avoided much longer

1/28/2013 | Huntington, West Virginia

Some staggering numbers have been bandied about in recent years regarding what it would take to bring Huntington's sewer system up to snuff to meet federal requirements, some as high as $785 million.The reasons are rather simple. Most of Huntington's sewer lines are a century old or more and most carry both storm water and sewage, which leads to flooding problems, sewage backups and places an extra burden on the treatment plant. Huntington and dozens of other cities across the country have faced pressure from federal environmental authorities to make improvements.

To-date, the city has made little progress in addressing the larger issues, what with tight budgets and little desire to raise sewer rates significantly to help pay for the repairs. But that may have to change, based on what officials and a consultant with the Huntington Sanitary Board spelled out last week.While they weren't calling for an immediate plan to pay for all the sewer system's needs, they did urge the three-member Sanitary Board to prepare for a way to make up to $50 million in repairs that they described as critical -- and to raise sewer rates to help pay for the work.

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Faced with aging sewer netowrk, Portland plans to spend millions on repairs over next five years

1/26/2013 | Portland, Oregon

The second biggest sewer program in Portland's history is underway on the city'¬ôs east side. About a third of the city's sewer network is over 80 years old and nearing the end of its life.Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian For about five years now, workers have been tearing up streets on Portland's east side repairing and replacing the weakest pieces of the city's sewer network -- a small line here, a 7-foot trunk line there.The individual projects aren't much to talk about, but together they represent the second largest sewer program in the city's history, right behind the Big Pipe. And the bulk of it is just getting started.All told, about 2,500 miles of sewer lines run beneath Portland's streets, and about a third of them are more than 80 years old. Given that most sewers have a shelf life of about 100 years, the city faces a massive reworking of its infrastructure."We're just doing the worst of the worst," said Bill Ryan, chief engineer in the city's Environmental Services Bureau. Still, "we've got a lot of sewers to fix."

The bureau is wrapping up the $23 million first phase of its sweeping Pipe Rehabilitation Program this year, and the second phase, expected to cost $139 million, has already begun.
The second piece will be rolled out over five years, hitting neighborhoods west of 82nd Avenue in waves. The work will touch just about all of the east side: Overlook, St. Johns, Eastmoreland, Woodstock, Grant Park, Kenton, Mount Tabor, Humboldt and others. To put the scale of the project into perspective, Portland is expected to spend an average of $30 million a year on repairing and replacing pieces of the sewer system during the second phase -- and a third that will follow. Before, annual costs were typically closer to $8 million.

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Water line breaks leave west side soaked

6/26/2013 | Casa Grande, Arizona

More than 200,000 gallons of water gushed from two burst pipes earlier this month, filling a nearby retention basin, flooding at least one yard and leaving several west-side residents without water for about 12 hours. The two breaks occurred on June 11 near Schultz Street and McMurray Boulevard.The first breach happened in the early morning, leaving nearby residents without water for about five hours.“We got them back in service and then we had another break,” said Fred Schneider, vice president of engineering for Arizona Water Company.With the second break, water was turned off for about seven hours, Schneider said.

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Urbana residents look for compensatin in sewer repair

1/24/2013 | Urbana, Illinois

When Evelyn Underwood noticed blockage in her sewer pipe this month, she was far from the first in her neighborhood to experience this problem. For years, she said, someone in Ellis Subdivision in Urbana seemingly had to have work done on pipes running to the city sewer every summer.Unlike newer subdivisions where sewer lines run down the middle of the street, equal distance from each house, the residents of this older neighborhood are subject to different prices to repair the old-fashioned clay tile pipes that run through the front and backyards of some houses.Brad Bennett, senior civil engineer for Urbana Public Works, said it costs about $2,000 to $3,000 to replace the pipes for a house on the same side as a sewer main but between $5,000 to $8,000 for a house on the opposite side, such as Underwood’s home.

These repairs are more expensive because more of the road will be torn up to get to the pipes as they are farther away from the sewer main, he said.Underwood said that because she lives farther from the sewer main, she will have to pay an estimated $5,500 to replace the pipes.“I’ll pay on my property. Gladly,” Underwood said. “But don’t talk about me paying to tear up (the city) streets or other people’s yards.”Because of the way the pipes were laid more than 50 years ago in her subdivision, Underwood and many other residents are asking the city to change the reimbursement policy.The current policy pays for 50 percent of the repairs on city property, up to $3,000.

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Bartown Extends Its Sewer Repair Project

1/16/2013 | Bartow, Florida

BARTOW | A month after spending nearly $300,000 to replace a collapsed sewer line near Wabash Street, the city of Bartow is about to start the process again for another line.

Facts:  "There probably is not a more significant length of pipe in our system."George Long, City Manager

This time, city crews will switch out the next segment of sewer line beyond the part just replaced, said City Manager George Long. The pipe is a trunk line that carries wastewater directly to the city's treatment plant on Wabash Street.During last month's repairs, crews tried to connect the new line with the existing 24-inch steel pipe that's been in the ground for decades, Long said."They couldn't find enough solid steel pipe to connect it to," he said."I think we're going to be replacing that half-mile of transmission line sooner than later."

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Sparks declares emergency to fix broken sewer line

1/14/2013 | Sparks, California

SPARKS (AP) — Sparks City Council has declared a state of emergency to give officials spending authority to repair two sewage pipes that broke last week.City officials tell the Reno Gazette-Journal no one was affected by the pipes that busted due to the cold weather.

The two 7-foot diameter pipes carry sewage to the regional treatment facility. No details yet on what happened but old infrastructure may be to blame.Temporary measures were taken last week to fix the problem until more money could be cleared for a permanent repair.

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State to finance Newburgh sewer main repairs

1/15/2013 | Newburgh, New York

CITY OF NEWBURGH — The state has approved a loan of nearly $9 million to help Newburgh repair a crumbling sewer main.The West Trunk sewer main broke in October, spewing raw sewage into the Quassaick Creek at the south end of the city. The state Department of Environmental Conservation later estimated as many as 5 million gallons poured into the creek, which empties into the Hudson River.

The city declared a state of emergency and brought in outside contractors to reroute the flow. It was a short-term solution, and city officials quickly began looking for help with repairs they knew would be costly.The Newburgh City Council voted in late October to authorize bonds for as much as $9.14 million to finance the repairs. At the same time, the city was applying to the state for loans.

The board of directors of state Environmental Facilities Corporation voted unanimously Thursday to approve a financial package of $8.9 million for the city. The first $2 million is interest-free for a year, and whatever else the city borrows will have a variable rate subsidized by the state. The short-term loans eventually will roll into long-term financing. City Manager Richard Herbek said it's good news."The alternative would have been funding it ourselves, probably through a much higher interest rate," Herbek said.Construction on the sewer main, installed more than a century ago, is set to begin in June.

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