Brownstown to extend sewer project; weather delays progress on rehabilitation



The weather in recent months prevented workers from keeping the sanitary sewer rehabilitation project in Brownstown on schedule.

That has resulted in Wessler Engineering, which is overseeing the work, and Insituform Technologies LLC, the contractor, asking the Office of Community and Rural Affairs for an extension on the project. The town received a grant from that federal agency to do the work.

Shannon McLeod with Priority Project Resources, the town’s grant writer, recently told the Brownstown Town Council the project is on budget and everything has gone according to plan, except for the weather halting progress.

“The cold weather isn’t the best time of year to be doing that,” she said of sliplining manholes and sewer lines. “It affects the adhesion of the pipes and the inside, as well, as there is a surplus of water and getting cameras down (in the lines) and things of that nature.”

Initially, the project was expected to be completed by early October.

With that not happening and the federal grant expiring Feb. 15, the extension was needed.

McLeod contacted Brent Siebenthal, president of Wessler Engineering, to determine when work could resume and how long it would take to complete.

“They would like to delay the work actually starting back until maybe late March, even April,” McLeod said. “(Siebenthal) thought that (Insituform) would be in and out of here by early summer, like June.”

To give workers a cushion, McLeod said she would request the extension to go until Aug. 15.

“That gives us a little extra time in case there’s something that comes up,” she said. “That will give David (Willey, Brownstown clerk-treasurer) and I time to get all of the financial records and everything put together and then be able to submit the closeout papers by Aug. 15.”

At the first council meeting in August, she said there will be a request for the release of all retainage, which will assure the the contractor and subcontractor met all of their obligations in the contract.

For now, McLeod said she will put together a letter that shows the town is doing its due diligence with the project.

Insituform began sliplining manholes and sewer lines in the spring of 2017.

Sliplining involves using specialized equipment to place a resin liner through a manhole. The liner is pulled through with steam or hot water and expands and conforms to existing pipe, and it forms up like PVC pipe.

The goal is to maximize the benefit of the length of the footage of sewers that can be lined using cured-in-place pipe technology, Siebenthal said. A cured-in-place pipe is among the trenchless rehabilitation methods used to repair existing pipelines and is one of the most widely used, he said.

Scott Hunsucker, superintendent of Brownstown Wastewater Utility, said the original bid was for 11,536 feet of sanitary sewers to be lined, 26 manholes to be rehabilitated and the addition of seven manholes at the end of lines to allow for lining of the sewers.

Due to competitive pricing and the lack of major point repairs, Hunsucker said they have added 8,549 feet of lining with an additional 2,000 feet to be added to use the remaining OCRA funds.

“To complete this project, we have approximately 2,000 feet of sewer to line and one structure in the high school parking lot to be installed,” he said. “This project has allowed us to line the sewers on Bridge, Walnut and Spring streets to Ewing along with some other points scattered around town.”

The next project, which Hunsucker said he hopes comes in five years, will be to replace two lift stations, rehabilitate 68,000 feet of line and 367 manholes and add 49 manholes at the ends of dead-end lines.

“This project will hopefully cover everything else in town that isn’t PVC pipe,” he said.

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