Replacing a corroded sewer line along along Glenwood Avenue will now cost more than $3.2 million, up by almost $730,000, after the line failed in late April. City council members voted Tuesday to approve the increase.
Workers began to replace sections of the line about six months ago, a task that was projected to cost around $2.5 million. The pipe was initially built with state of the art linings intended to prevent corrosion, but those began to fail, according to Robert Massengill, assistant director of public utilities.
Massengill said that sections of the pipe had deteriorated so much that they sprung leaks. Then, on April 27, a large section of the pipe failed and spilled raw sewage into a creek located across from Sir Walter Raleigh Chevrolet.
“We contained most of the spill, though we did lose some that went into the creek,” Massengill said.
Luckily, the raw sewage was somewhat diluted by the heavy rains that fell that weekend. It turns out the spill was the first indication of a much more serious problem. Workers discovered that other sections of the pipe were also in worse condition than expected.
“We had identified prior to April 27 that it was in bad shape, though we hadn’t realized it was quite as bad as it was,” Massengill said.
City council members approved a request for $729,000 to pay for unforeseen costs such as cleanup of the spill and the replacement of additional sections. The new pipe will be made of PVC, not the metal that caused the corrosion.
But a project like this is expensive anyway, said Massengill. Workers must navigate around fiber optic cables and provide traffic control for areas near the project site. They’ve also had to build a bypass line to maintain existing service while the pipe is being replaced.
Completion of the project is targeted for late fall.