(Posted on Jan. 21, 2020)
By Ris Twigg, Staff Writer
A new sewer line will be constructed in the backyards of homeowners living around Norwood Elementary School this year, according to the West Jefferson Public Service and Utilities Department.
Around 23 homeowners are expected to be impacted by the replacements, and construction is set to begin sometime after the cold weather breaks, said John Mitchell, public service director for West Jefferson.
“The sewer line is failing. It’s got cracks and stormwater coming in. We want to get that resolved,” Mitchell explained during the Jan. 20 village council meeting. “So, we’re going to relocate that sewer out of the (homeowners’) backyards and into school property.”
The current sewer line is an outdated model made of clay which is prone to cracking, Mitchell said. The new sewer line will be between 1,200 and 1,300 feet long and made out of plastic to prevent additional leaking.
BK Layer, an engineering firm out of Perrysville with a history of working with small municipalities, will be awarded the contract to remove the outdated sewer and install the new line. The engineering estimate for the contract, according to Mitchell, is $251,094.
Once paperwork is finalized with the engineering firm over the next 30 days, both the firm and the Public Services Department will develop a schedule to let effected residents know when to expect different parts of construction to begin.
Mitchell said he will mail a letter to residents in the area, explaining the project’s parameters and inviting them to a pre-construction meeting with his team and BK Layer to discuss the upcoming changes and impact to the properties.
Due to weather, a date has not been set yet for the start of construction, but Mitchell expects the pre-construction meeting to happen within the next one or two months at Norwood Elementary or the West Jefferson Public Services Department.
“We’re going to meet with all the homeowners, or whoever wants to, so that they all know what’s happening,” Mitchell said. “If they can’t make the meeting, they can give me a call.”
The Public Service Department performed several flow meter tests throughout the village over the past year to determine the source of the sanitary sewer leaks and to isolate a targeted area for improvements.
“We put meters that track how much flow is going through (waterways). When you look at the data and determine how much rainfall (occurred), we match up the rainfall with the flow of the sewers and see where there’s some stormwater getting in the sanitary sewers,” Mitchell said.
Contractors will tear down any existing fence in homeowners’ yards and temporarily replace it with construction fencing to keep out pets and children. Then, the current sewer line will be removed and replaced on an easement given to the village by the Jefferson Local School District.
After the new sewer line is put in place, each homeowner’s individual sanitary sewer line will be extended about six inches, Mitchell said.
“We’re getting a lot of flow in from the groundwater and stormwater. It will be a better situation for all,” he said.