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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sewage Backups Damage Homes

A broken water main and a broken sewer main wreaked havoc near 25th and Hampshire Friday.

Sewer backups damaged homes and canceled classes at St. Peter School, and crews were working throughout the day Friday to repair the damaged pipes.

Hampshire Street was closed between 24th and 25th streets, and water and sewer service were interrupted.

Utilities Director David Kent said the water main broke first, at about 1:50 a.m. Friday at 25th and Hampshire, and the fallout may have caused the sewer main break.

"I have an idea that there was probably some saturation in the soil and some settlement" that led to the sewer break, Kent said.

Residents on 25th Street from Maine to Vermont and on Prentiss Avenue remain under a 48-hour boil order that was instituted once water service was restored early Friday.

City crews that responded to the initial water main break were home around 4 a.m., about the time water service was restored. But the city then received information about sewer backups in the area.

The backups affected several homes in the area, and Servpro was making cleanup rounds during the day Friday.

The sewer problems also canceled classes Friday at St. Peter School, roughly a block south of the affected area.

Principal Janet Bick said a janitor discovered sewage in the school's boiler room. No damage was reported.

Closer to the break, Madison School was unaffected and held classes Friday as scheduled.

Kent said along with the school, he believed there were two or three interconnections that were affected.

Kent said the sewer break was in a transition piece from a new manhole into the older sewer line. The manhole and transition piece were replaced last summer.

The city brought in Rees Construction Co. to complete all of the repairs at 25th and Hampshire, Kent said.

"What was the deciding factor for me was the depth of excavation that we had to do," he said. "We're down right around 19 feet. The city doesn't have a piece of equipment that can dig down that deep. We don't have the proper shoring and trenching (equipment) to do that shoring safely."

No estimates were given on the repairs. Sewer service was scheduled to be restored and preliminary repairs scheduled to wrap up Friday night, although Kent said more work remains.

"I may leave the hole open, because I want some more permanent bracing on it," Kent said. "I probably want them to pour some concrete, and there's a problem getting concrete on weekends. I may just secure the area, put fencing around it, but they should be back in service."

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