Sewer woes continue

WELLSVILLE – Wellsville Council’s Water, Sewer and Refuse Committee convened on Wednesday afternoon to discuss progress on the 10th Street storm sewer project, including the implications of a discovery made as work was completed.

Workers from JCM Contracting, who had been excavating Lisbon Street as well as 10th Street during the project, found that the original brick sewer line running beneath Lisbon Street had developed a deep crack along the top of the pipe for the full length that they excavated, estimated at 50 feet.

Village administrator Thom Edgell said the pipe had been crushed along the top, most likely from the weight of heavy trucks that did not exist when the pipes were originally constructed generations ago. As a result, the round pipe had been pressed into something more like a heart-shaped ovoid.

This cracked-oval shape at the top, in addition to many years worth of silt and rubbish build-up at the bottom, had conspired to drastically reduce the flow capacity of the pipe, he said. Even worse, workers could find no end to the crack running along the top of the pipe of the entire portion they excavated.

According to committee member Tony Cataldo, workers said this crack most likely runs the entire length of the pipe under Lisbon Street, stretching from 10th up to Third Street.

“Through that whole thing, the bricks are falling down on the sides,” Cataldo said. Despite this, he says the engineer from the firm of Howells & Baird, Inc., overseeing the project, described the remaining length of pipe that they explored as “sound” overall, but in need of replacement before long.

The fix they arrived at was to sleeve new steel pipe, 48 inches in diameter, inside the old brick pipe in an effort to halt any further collapse of the bricks while keeping the storm water flow unimpeded – if a bit reduced in capacity from its original, 60-inch specification. “They cemented that all up, so the water is flowing through finally,” Cataldo said.

The sleeved section of the pipe is less than 10 feet in length, however, which is as far as workers could insert it into the brick pipe without causing further damage.

Edgell called it a “a good repair,” but not the total reconstruction that Howells & Baird advised is required. “It’s more than a Band-Aid, but there’s only so much you can do with that repair. They say it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” he said.

The original bid from JCM Contracting for the project, with its originally-anticipated costs, was $107,000. The money for the work comes from a grant of $113,800, which includes the engineer’s costs, from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

According to Cataldo, he and Edgell have yet to calculate how much of that sum has already been spent on the project and how much might be left over. “We haven’t paid anything out to [the contractor] yet, only to the engineer,” he said.

Whatever is decided, repairing the original, three-layer brick pipe down the length of Lisbon Street is not an option. “We don’t have the money to fix it all the way down,” Cataldo said. The sleeving work that has been completed will require change orders, since materials other than originally specified were used in the repairs.