Two sewer problems found
When Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson passed around photos to the city council of a root infiltration that was found in the sewer line at South 11th Avenue and Taylor, he said that the photo almost seemed pretty until you think about what it is.
During the regular Washington City Council meeting Wednesday evening, Hinson said that two problems had been identified with Washington sewer lines and steps were being taken to correct the problems. The first was the root infiltration. The other is a gas line that was found cutting through an older sewer line.
“The biggest piece of the project will be when HydroKlean comes into town next week,” Hinson said, of the examination of the city’s sewer system. “They will televise that entire line. Hopefully, we will find something that is obviously the problem and we can get it resolved quickly.”
He said that the root infiltration would be removed by the end of the week. Hinson said that in older sewer lines joints can come loose and tree roots searching for water can grow down into them. This can block a sewer line. Hinson said that cleaning and televising the sewer lines reveal cases where this has happened. He said this example is a “severe” example.
Hinson does not believe that this infiltration is the cause of recent problems that have prompted several community members to approach the council. Citizens have reported that their basements have flooded with raw sewage during heavy rainstorms. Hinson said the line with the infiltration is a very old clay line. He said the southeast interceptor, which hooks the sewer to that section of town, is about 20 years old and is concrete pipe.
He said that finding the problem in the miles of sewer line was akin to “looking for a needle in a haystack.” He said the city is continuing to go through the lines to try to find the problem.
The other incident was found in the 1000 block of East Jefferson. He said an Alliant gas line was going through the sewer pipe. Hinson speculated that when the line was being installed — he said that Alliant contracts out most of its gas pipe installation — a contractor had accidentally bored through the line.
During discussion, council member Bob Shellmyer moved the city attorney send a letter to Alliant, saying the city wanted the pipe replaced. The motion failed 3-2.
Hinson said that Alliant plans to fix the problem.
“We run into things like this sometimes,” Hinson said. “Sometimes it’s Alliant’s fault and sometimes it is our fault. We just work through it.”
The council also received an update on the sewer plant workings and approved the purchase of a fence around the plant.