The public utility’s third Sewer System Evaluation Plan, an initiative in which non-toxic smoke is forced into sewer lines one neighborhood at a time, has uncovered 93 defects, according to Craig Mullinax, manager of the CU Water Division.
The defects aren’t especially a positive note, but the fact that they’re being identified is good news because it helps repair crews to prioritize their next project. The bad news is the exhaustive smoke inspection initiative has covered only 76.5 miles of sewer line. Cleveland Utilities has 358 miles total. That’s about 21 percent.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction, Mullinax believes.
“We’re starting in the repair mode with some of these,” the Water Division manager told members of the Cleveland Utilities Board earlier this week. “It’s a daunting task to smoke this (entire) treatment system.” In the long term, however, the benefits will be worth the efforts, he added.
“So far, this has been very productive and we feel very good about it,” Mullinax said.
About a month ago, the smoke test uncovered a major flaw involving a broken sewer line under 13th Street in which a 48-inch culvert pipe was receiving the equivalent of 480,577 gallons per day from a creek. Because an existing 10-inch sewer line was broken, it was allowing in 474,421 gallons of water per day of the creek’s flow. The volume of water estimated if the 10-inch sewer main was flowing full is 705,022 gallons per day.
The defective sewer line was allowing a large volume of flowing water and this is detrimental to CU’s wastewater system. This “unauthorized water infiltrating the sewer system” was costing CU roughly $700 per day, utility officials previously reported.
Cleveland Utilities customers are reminded the smoke tests will continue. Crews conducting the tests will wear photo identification badges, uniforms and will drive vehicles identified with the CU seal. Crew members will not request entry into private homes, but will be available during the testing to assist residents and answer their questions.
In other developments the CU Board:
• Heard a project update by Walt Vineyard in which CU’s “Smart Grid Fiber Optic Backbone Project” was completed by the end of July. In this project, which began in mid-April, crews installed and spliced about 40 miles of fiber optics. The project was finished at a cost of $522,000 which was about $48,000 under budget.
• Approved a purchase order with East Tennessee Grading Inc. in the amount of $376,258.54 for the installation of 975 feet of 24-inch sewer line located at 9th Street S.E. between Wildwood Avenue and King Edward Avenue S.E. The sewer line will eliminate a bottleneck that has contributed to a chronic overflow and led to a self-imposed moratorium by Cleveland Utilities. Bids were also submitted by Hampton Backhoe Service, $387,647; Mayse Construction, $453,946.46; and Adams & Sons, $457,941.75.
• Approved a contract with Chastain Construction in the amount of $75,450 to relocate a 20-inch water line in the Northeast Industrial Park. Six companies bid on the project, including Mayse Construction Company, $112,631.50; Hampton Backhoe Service, $119,125; East Tennessee Grading, $139,480; Norris Brothers Excavating, $142,613; Roy Joe Angel Construction, $144,990; and Chastain.
• Approved the addition of Time-of-Day Rates to the public utility’s rate schedule. Time-of-Day (also known as TGSA) refers to major power users getting cheaper rates during non-peak periods.
The next CU board meeting is scheduled Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Tom Wheeler Training Center.