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Infrastructure improvements continue in city

They are parts of the city people don’t see and usually don’t even think about, but they are essential to the city’s well-being. By this time next year, they will be either new and or improved.

A project to re-line the city’s 60 miles of sanitary sewer lines that began Oct. 5 continues. The Inliner trenchless renewal system involves snaking a felt liner into sewer pipes and then shooting styrene into the lines to coat the felt. Hot air or hot water is then blown into the lines, causing the styrene and felt to adhere to the inside of the pipes and harden. Pipes are first cleaned out and all tree roots and debris removed.

The project began at 13th and Vine streets and Doug Cade, of E.L. Robinson Engineering, said some residents in that area have reported an odd odor coming from their plumbing.

“It’s the styrene,” Cade said. “It smells like model car glue. It’s non-toxic. If your plumbing is not installed correctly the odor can back up into your house.” He said in many cases the problem is that the sewer drain trap has dried out. He recommended putting water in the trap and then covering it.

The timeline calls for the lines in the south end of town to be completed first. The north end of town will be targeted after that with the downtown completed last. The project should be completed in September 2010.

This is considered “green” because it does not involve excavation — no lines are being dug up. If the city had used traditional construction, Cade said the cost would have been 10 times higher.

A second project, dubbed “Mr. Manhole,” involved replacing the chimney, or top portion, of the city’s 1,000-plus manholes. The chimney replacement will keep storm water out of the city’s sanitary sewer system, thus reducing the amount of water that goes into the water treatment plant. Reducing water going into the treatment plant will save money on treatment costs.

The chimney rehab began Oct. 9. Thus far 190 manholes have been rehabbed. This project should be completed by summer 2010.

The third project involves sealing the rest of the manhole with a styrene product, again, to help reduce the amount of storm water getting into the sanitary sewer system. It will begin the week after Christmas and will be finished in October 2010. The product used in this, SprayRoq Spray Shield, is also considered “green” because it uses vegetable oil, a renewable natural resource.

“Ironton is one of the few communities doing this,” Mayor Rich Blankenship said. “This puts us at the forefront of the green technology.”

Cade was recently contacted by a writer who is working on a story for a national publication and wanted to include information about Ironton’s “green” projects in his story.

All three projects collectively cost $12 million. Of that amount, $5 million will come from federal stimulus funds and the rest from a low interest Ohio Environmental Protection Agency loan.

Cade said one of the benefits of the three projects is employment. Six local residents who had lost their jobs at other companies were hired to work on these projects.

Blankenship asked that people driving in the construction areas slow down and be observant, for their own safety as well as that of the workers.

“What we’re doing now is for future generations,” Blankenship said. “I know there are some short-term inconveniences but we will reap some long-term improvements. I do ask that citizens be considerate of the workers and I appreciate everyone’s patience while the work continues.”

Sewer rehab schedule

Ironton Sewer Rehabilitation Work Schedule for Week of December 7, 2009:

Contractors for the City of Ironton working on the Sewer Rehabilitation Project will be working in the following areas of Ironton the week of Dec. 7, 2009:

Sewer Cleaning – Neal Street from the 4th to 7th Street area and the Adams to Spruce Street from 4th to 10th Street area

Manhole Cover Replacement – Ashtabula to Pleasant from 10th to 13th Street

Sewer Lining – Latonia to Pleasant in the Alley between 7th and 8th Street and Pleasant Street from 9th to 11th Street.

Questions regarding this project or information relating to your sewer services should be directed to the City of Ironton: Ironton Wastewater Department, 740-532-8245; Ironton Mayor’s Office 740-532-3833