Cost of the extensive work will be $1,187,403.75. CU has budgeted $1,250,000 for the initiative.
SCOPE 10 is an acronym for Strategic Commitment to Protect the Environment, an encompassing project launched by the public utility in 2011 aimed at overhauling the existing sewer system whose principal goal is the curtailment — if not altogether eventual elimination — of inflow and infiltration.
I/I, as it is called by water and wastewater engineers, refers to the amount of extraneous or “unwanted” underground water that seeps into cracked, damaged or broken sewer lines. I/I is a direct contributor to flash flooding and manhole overflows along many city streets during periods of heavy rainfall. Although complete elimination of I/I is considered a pipe dream by most, its drastic reduction is expected to go a long way in helping to minimize flooding, according to CU President Tom Wheeler and Water Division Vice President Craig Mullinax, both of whom have followed the initiative’s progress closely since its inception.
Reducing I/I also will help to prevent overflow in the wastewater treatment plant whose facilities are over-tasked to treat the volume of water that comes in from inflow and infiltration. Another objective in jump-starting SCOPE 10 is to eliminate any potential health hazards that could be associated with sewer overflows and backups in a handful of Cleveland residents.
At a recent formal session of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities, members voted unanimously to accept Insituform Technologies as the project contractor for completing the Basin 31-45 work. Located south of APD 40, Basin 31-45 includes a few neighborhoods in areas of Old Chattanooga Pike, Bryant Drive, Blackburn Road, Carroll Avenue, Dockery Lane, Kile Lane, Westland Drive, Victory Street, Golf Drive, Crest Drive, Industrial Drive and others.
In order to keep SCOPE 10 on schedule and progressing with consistency, Cleveland Utilities originally budgeted $1.25 million each year for the complicated project that officials had estimated to cost about $15 million. However, preliminary testing and contractor analysis revealed the severity of damaged lines and this upped the total price to about $29 million.
But it is work that Cleveland Utilities must complete or else face the same fate as other cities such as Chattanooga, Knoxville, Oak Ridge, Nashville and Brentwood which have been forced by the Environmental Protection Agency to spend in excess of $2.2 billion to comply with the federal agency’s orders to modernize aging sewer systems. To do so has meant wastewater rate increases reportedly ranging from 25 to 330 percent.
CU is hoping to accomplish the same goals with smaller sewer rate increases of 4.5 percent in Fiscal Years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and a 5 percent hike in FY 2019 and 2020. More importantly, CU hopes to keep SCOPE 10 progressing in a manner that will stave off potential EPA involvement. Failure to correct ongoing sewer I/I could result in a violation of CU’s NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit which regulates pollutants within a utility’s water and wastewater system.
EPA sanctions could include sewer moratoriums which would prevent future connections to the existing system. In a community that is growing with new businesses and industries, such moratoriums could be damaging.
Littlejohn Engineering Associates Inc. is the contracted project engineer for SCOPE 10. Littlejohn recommended the Insituform Technologies LLC bid for the Basin 31-45 rehabilitation work. Board members approved the bid on a motion by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and second by Eddie Cartwright. Others favoring the bid were Joe Cate, Chari Buckner and board chairman Aubrey Ector.
Some of the sewer line repairs scheduled for the south Cleveland basin include 1,355 lineal feet of 24-inch sewer main that will receive a high-tech cured-in-place interior lining or total replacement. Another 10,930 lineal feet of eight-inch line will receive the same rehab, as well as 215 lineal feet of six-inch line. This comprises a total 12,500 lineal feet of sewer main that will be replaced or rehabbed with the interior lining.
The project includes the cleaning, lining, excavation or total reinstatement of 207 sewer laterals. Some 610 vertical feet of manholes will be lined with epoxy liner to prevent I/I and provide protection against damage from hydrogen sulfide. Two manholes will be replaced with new precast manholes.
Even as physical repairs are being made to Basin 31-45, CU crews and contractors are working in other Cleveland areas with smoke testing and other analyses to prepare for the next major physical rehab. According to CU officials, the idea is to rehab parts of the sewer system first that are considered to be the biggest contributors to I/I. The sooner these repairs are made to the most damaged areas, the quicker SCOPE 10 will have a significant impact on overflow patterns.
In other developments, the CU board:
n Approved a purchase order with Hampton Backhoe Service LLC in the amount of $61,151.50 for the installation of 1,708 lineal feet of 6-inch water line. The new line will replace an existing 2-inch galvanized water line along Eugenia Avenue N.W.
- Received a report from Wheeler that CU has added a new rate for 10-inch water meters which previously had not existed. Until now, the utility did not have need for this size of a meter among its commercial customers.
- Heard a report from Barry Maples, manager of Treatment Facilities, on an Operational Excellence Award recently received by CU’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The award was presented by the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association. Covering the period Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2011, the certificate states, “This award is conferred to recognize the dedication, resolve and outstanding effort of the employees of this facility by having no more than one violation of its NPDES permit limit for the 12-month reporting period.” Maples introduced several CU technicians to the board who work at the plant. He told board members he wanted them to see the faces of those behind the plant’s success.
- Rowland and Wheeler announced they are working to set up a joint session between the Cleveland Utilities board and the Cleveland City Council to allow CU to provide a full update and description of the SCOPE 10 rehab initiative. The luncheon session, probably to be held in the CU Training Center, is expected within the next two to three weeks.
- The CU board’s next scheduled formal session is set for Thursday, Aug. 23, at 3 p.m. in the CU Training Center.