Rising water levels have led to several emergency repairs throughout the city this month.
Heavy rain has continued to cause issues throughout the city as was evidenced with the addition of two emergency repair items to the city commission agenda this week.
The trouble began on Aug. 1, when a street failure on South Collins Street caused a section of the road to collapse. A section of steel traffic plates were placed on the street as a temporary safety measure to allow traffic to continue on the roadway.
A video confirmed the issue was a failure of the stormwater drainage pipe at the intersection. As preparation of the bid documents for the repair to South Collins Street were in the process of being completed, another issue arose.
“There have been several emergency repairs we’ve had to undergo in the last several weeks,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said. “The weather and rain have put a strain on some of the culverts around town and have led to some issues.”
At approximately 9:30 p.m. Aug. 14, a 24-inch sewer main located at 3305 Sydney Road failed. The issue immediately gained attention when it affected Saputo Dairy’s service, which is located near the site. Utilities staffers were immediately on the scene and set up a bypass system to keep Saputo up and running while they worked on repairing the line. Unfortunately, the structural failure was much larger than anticipated, causing the utilities staff to be unable to complete the repairs. Using an emergency purchase provision, the city employed Wetherington Tractor Service (WTS) for $56,226 to perform the repairs. Wetherington was contacted around 7 a.m.
Wetherington had to replace the sewer main from manhole to manhole, which was approximately 115 feet, and restore Saputo’s driveway. The weather continued to dampen the prospects of a speedy repair, as did the supply of the 24-inch pipe, but the sewer main was back in service by Aug. 21. The Utilities Department also reported the sanitary overflow to the appropriate regulatory agency within the required timeframe.
Now that the repair has been completed, additional outsourcing will need to be addressed to reestablish the Saputo sign and the cost of that repair is not known at this time.
Less than 24 hours had passed before another strikingly familiar failure hit another portion of Sydney Road.
“It’s interesting if you go out there and look at the geography,” McDaniel said. “Sydney Road has a little hill in it, so the sewer collapse was on the back side of the hill on the east side and the stormwater collapse was on the west side. Both of them were on the downhill slope. As I was standing there at the sewer collapse, that water was running off the top of that hill basically as a little river going down the side of the road, and the sewer collapse was down where it leveled out… On the back side, you have the stormwater drain that went under the road and it washed out, and of course what’s on both sides of it is a wetland.”
It was the evening of Aug. 15 and the drainage culvert on Sydney Road failed, closing the road and halting traffic between Turkey Creek Road and Commerce Road. Just like the issue on South Collins Street, the cause related back to the significant increase in rain the city has seen for months on end.
The wetlands on either side were flooded with water, causing it to pile up and overwhelm the base of the stormwater drain.
On Aug. 16, the City Manager executed an emergency purchase order to repair the drainage culverts on both Sydney Road and South Collins Street. Wetherington Tractor Service submitted a cost proposal for both of those projects for a total of $71,510 on Aug. 19.
Commissioners retroactively approved all of the emergency repairs Monday evening.
Grant Street has faced similar issues. The first occurred in the intersection and was caused from a sewer issue. There was a warranty issue with the contractor, and water leaking from the inside out caused a large depression in the road. The city got the issue fixed in the intersection only to find another pit had popped up to the west of it in the middle of the block.
McDaniel said the second depression was caused by the high water table in the area. All of the water underground is rising to the point it is eroding the structures around the manhole at the location and causing the severe depression.
“That’s a chronic problem in that area because it has such a high water table there as well, all of my experts are telling me,” McDaniel said. “We are working right now to get the bid out to get that repair done and we’re trying to get it done as quickly as possible because I realize that’s quite a significant dip. I dodge it every morning.”