Railroad Street sewer repair starts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

It’s an inconvenience more than 100 years in the making.

Ironton motorists will find that they’ll have to avoid the section of Railroad Street between Fifth and Sixth streets in the coming weeks, as a local contractor will be excavating more than 150 feet of brick sewer.

The strength of the sewer, which was constructed in the late 1800s, has been compromised over the years because of gasses released in the sewer.

Email newsletter signup

“It doesn’t have any mortar in the joints, so it has collapsed,” Biggs said. “Rather than try to repair it this time, we’re replacing it.”

Fields Excavating, which makes its home in Kitts Hill, was brought on by the city to do the work for around $76,000, a sum the city will pay for with a $75,000, 20-year, zero interest loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority.

The money will be used to completely remove the 30-inch oval brick sewer section and replace it with new PVC pipes.

To those for whom this seems like d/jˆ vu: You’re partly right. The city attempted to repair 30 feet of the Railroad Sewer a couple of years ago, after a tap connected to the sewer began to leak. Unfortunately, that repair led to even more problems.

“After we got that replacement done, just downstream from the replacement about six or eight feet, the dang thing caved in again,” Biggs said. “It’s just the nature of that old brick sewer construction, it’s very delicate. When you dig around it, you run the risk of it caving in.”

Biggs said that the same problems won’t arise this time around, as the entire sewer will be excavated. However, this is a problem that will continue to pop up through the coming years.

“Oh yeah, there’s miles down there,” Biggs said. “But this one is a particular problem because of those broken taps that were on it. And it’s one of the deeper brick sewers. It’s 20 feet deep, and most of them aren’t that deep.”

But city officials will have to take the problems as they come for now. This first replacement project has just begun, but Biggs said that project should be complete in time for Ironton’s biggest annual audience.

“It should be completed and repaved before the (Memorial Day) Parade,” Biggs said.