With recent sewer failures along Washington Avenue and Theobald streets, city officials plan to attack another one before it happens.
Bill Burle, the owner of W.L. Burle Engineers, showed City Council members Monday at a special council meeting a photo of the corroded and cracking concrete pipe like the 20-foot section on Theobald Street that failed and was replaced this weekend.
“The failure occurred Thursday just after the rainfall event. We had sewage coming out of the street on the south and north ends of Washington so we didn't know how much of the pipe was damaged,” he said.
Initial costs for the repair was $75,000, but the open trench repair will be less than the estimate falling between $10,000 and $15,000, Burle said.
Although an earlier repair was made on Theobald Street a year ago, another failure could happen at any time before its scheduled repair in August.
Because the trench made for the repair remains open, Burle said the city should consider bidding out the 40- to 50-foot section so it does not become an emergency too.
“I’m trying to maintain the line until we pipe burst it,” he said. “This is one time we could actually plan for a replacement for Hancock instead of waiting for a failure."
The failures along Theobald Street are part of the more than 2.5-mile long Hancock Force Main and Pump Station project, which is set to begin this year. Total costs for the project are $4.9 million.
With more repairs already planned for the same stretch of piping, Councilwoman Carolyn Weathers asked Burle if it will result in the city spending more money.
“We’re going to put this money into this repair and are we going to come back?” she asked.
Despite more costs for the city, the risk for not making the repair is great, Burle said.
“We could roll the dice and see if it could hold out for another eight to nine months,” he said. “Right now, we’ve uncovered the pavement; it’s a sidewalk. We’re not dealing with concrete pavement. We’re not dealing with traffic.”
Even though reluctant, council members decided to allow bids to go out for the piping.
When repairs on the Hancock Force Main and Pump Station begin in August, a new pipe will be pulled through the section of replaced pipe.
In other council news, council members also approved City Clerk Amelia Wicks to transfer all funds from the city’s $400,000 rainy day fund for the purpose of continuing municipal operations. Rainy day funds will be returned in February once the city receives its ad valorem tax receipts.
The accounts payable claims docket totaling $556,642 was also approved.
Wicks said the docket is in addition to the $450,313 docket at Wednesday's council meeting.
“The one on your agenda for Wednesday has to approve contingent upon the availability of funds. These were some that had to be paid,” she said.