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City sewer project completed

Next step is manhole rehabilitation

Two years ago it started with a need to rehabilitate Ironton’s badly deteriorated sanitary sewers. Now, millions of dollars and 60 miles of sewer lines later, city-contracted workers have completed what has been called the largest project of its kind east of the Mississippi River.

“It’s been a major project and we’re glad it’s finished,” Mayor Rich Blankenship said. “We have a much better system because of it.”

Construction on the city’s sewer relining project wrapped up around two to three weeks ago, said Patrick Leighty of the city’s contracted engineering firm, E.L. Robinson Engineering.

The work began in fall of 2009 after the Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance awarded the City of Ironton $5 million in matching stimulus funds to improve its infrastructure.

Blankenship, who had successfully lobbied for the funds after the city was initially turned down, said the need for the project was great.

“We had a deteriorating sewer system that was 100-years-old plus and many areas were ready to collapse,” the mayor said. “It was a problem you wouldn’t see because it was underground but it was very much needed. It’s going to be better for the community today and long into the future.”

The city contracted with Reynolds Inliner LLC — an Orleans, Ind.-based company that also has an office in Hilliard — to do the work. The relining process involved putting a fiberglass covering on the city’s existing sewer lines.

The product lengthens the life of the sewer lines and gives it more structural stability, Leighty said.

“Another thing is infiltration,” he said. “You’re not getting all the water running back into the sewers, which when that water runs back into the sewer it takes soil with it.”

The product should extend the life of the sewer for at least the next 50 years, Leighty said.

Blankenship thanked motorists for their patience during the work.

“I know it was a big long project that caused inconveniences but it was much needed and I thank the residents for having the patience to deal with that.”

He added that the alternative would have been to dig up all of the sewer lines and replace them.

While the sewer-relining portion of the project is complete, the city is about to begin work on another project to improve its infrastructure. The manhole rehabilitation project was originally to be completed alongside the sewer-relining project. The projects were separated when the product picked for the project didn’t adhere to brick manholes like it was supposed to, Leighty said.

Ironton City Council is currently considering an ordinance to award an approximately $370,000 contract to E.L. Robinson to cover engineering costs for the manhole project. The first reading of the ordinance was heard at council’s meeting June 9.

Leighty said the construction for the manhole rehabilitation is expected to cost approximately $1.8 million, though bids have not yet been received.

The total cost of both projects together will be around $14 million, $5 million of which is stimulus monies. The other $9 million the city got in a bond that will be repaid with wastewater fees.

Leighty said the manhole rehabilitation project will take between one and two years.

Blankenship said both projects will improve the city’s infrastructure, which will attract potential residents and businesses for years to come.

“All these things will just help us in the future and will reduce floods at the time so it’s a win-win for everyone,” Blankenship said.