The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 3, 2013

Work under way on aerial sewer project

Staff Writer

CONNEAUT — A sanitary sewer pipe high in the air will be replaced in a project that will take months to complete, officials said.

Crews and heavy equipment from Rudzik Excavators in Struthers have begun preliminary work at the site, located at Chestnut Street and Lake Road. Local and state officials say the work probably won’t be completed until 2014.

At issue is a lengthy stretch of line, suspended on piers more than 25 feet above a ravine near the lakefront, that experts believe could pose a contamination risk. The new pipe will be built a short distance from the original, which will continue to function until its replacement is ready for use, City Manager Tim Eggleston said Tuesday.

“We’ll keep the one going,” he said.

The old sewer, built in the late 1920s, is a steel product encased in concrete that is crumbling, according to reports. Officials fear the concrete could collapse, causing the pipe to rupture and leak raw sewage into a small stream, Kelsey’s Run, that passes through Township Park and empties into Lake Erie.

“A 2010 inspection found the existing...aerial sewer line in poor condition,” according to a statement from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Eggleston agreed the aerial sewer needed immediate attention.

“It’s due,” he said. “It’s not in good shape.”

Cost of the project is believed to approach $600,000. Some $339,000 will be covered by a no-interest loan obtained from Ohio’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund, an arrangement that will save the city an estimated $167,000 over its 20-year lifespan. Another $154,500 from the Ohio Public Works Commission completes the funding package, according to the OEPA statement.

The aerial sewer is one of a handful of capital improvement project that will see a start this year. Construction of a new water tower on Creek Road is already under way, while stabilization work is ahead for an embankment that supports a portion of Keefus Road.