It’s work that entails the installation of storm sewer and connection of new street inlets to the storm sewer — consisting of roughly 6000 feet of storm/sewer pipe and 62 structures, some as deep as 15 feet; disconnecting all surface drainage structures from existing combined sewer mains; and repairing the disturbed streets, curb, gutter, sidewalks, etc. encompassing Girard Street from Second to Eighth streets, Second Street from Girard to Metropolis streets and Metropolis Street from Second to Ninth streets.
Those were the known variables.
It’s the unknown that has a different effect on the project.
In this section of the city, the majority of the sewer system was built around 1908, 69 years after the city’s founding. For several years, it was a time when “everybody ran a sewer or water lines wherever they felt,” observed Brian Giltner with HMG Engineers, making it difficult for construction workers 105 years later to know where to dig.
It’s also a section where one pipe took care of both the sanitary waste and storm water, carrying them to the Ohio River, a common practice a century ago. Starting in the 1950s, cities began building separate sanitary waste sewers and storm water sewers.
In several areas of Metropolis, a weir, or small dam, diverts water to the water treatment plant from the sewer, so normally, the sewage is treated before entering the Ohio River. But during heavy rain, the combination of sewage and rainwater flows over the dam, going directly into the river. This is called a Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO. Separating the sewers prevents that.
Back in the 1980s with stricter environmental regulations on the horizon, the City of Metropolis adopted a plan to update the sewer system. Except for the Catherine Street sewer separation project in 1999, the separation work was never completed.