St. Clair Shores works to stay on top of sewer rehabilitation

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 26, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — A project to clean and televise the city’s sanitary sewer system has been completed, giving St. Clair Shores officials their first digital record of the system, and a starting point for what work needs to be done.

“We just spent several million (dollars) working on the sanitary system. It was split up into three different sections. It’s been a long process, but quite successful,” Mayor Kip Walby said at the Aug. 19 City Council meeting.

The sanitary sewer rehabilitation program was begun in 2017 with three contracts to two contractors who cleaned and televised the entire city’s sewer system, rating all of the pipes as they went along to make note of structural defects such as cracks, holes or collapsed sections of pipe, and operational and maintenance defects like roots, grease and water coming in through leaks.

“We’ve worked with Bryan Babcock (of the Department of Public Works) to develop a five- to six-year program” to make repairs, said Bill Fisher, senior project engineer with Hubbell, Roth and Clark, the city’s engineering firm. “We’re hitting the structural defects first, the ones that may be close to failure, knocked out first.”

The city will also be paying for a root control program with two or three applications over a few years, he said, with most of the root control needing to be conducted between Martin and 12 Mile roads on the west side of the city.

City Manager Mike Smith said that the inspections gave the city a good baseline for the current condition of the pipes.

“This project gave us, now, a digital record of the sanitation system in the city of St. Clair Shores,” he said. “We’ve got the ability to take a look at that information ... when we go back in three years and take another look.”

Councilman John Caron said that cleaning out the city’s pipes is crucial to preventing basement backups after large rain events.

“We’ve had several very large rainfalls,” he said. “Roseville had a lot of basement flooding, and we had no reported ones that would have been from the city mains. It’s not a matter of the water backing up from our system.

“Getting that mapping throughout the whole city ... it’s going to be very key that we don’t have a repeat of 2016.”

As part of continuing rehabilitation efforts, City Council members approved a contract for $256,861 to install cured-in-place pipe to LiquiForce Services, of Romulus; a contract for $257,242 to Bricco Excavating Co., of Oak Park, to do open-cut rehabilitation; and a contract for $73,229.99 to Duke’s Root Control, of New York, for the 2019 root control program.

The goal, Fisher said, is to “get to where we’re not spending all the money on rehabilitation, but we continue to go in and clean and televise on a regular basis. Once we get some of the big-time defects repaired, then go back and make sure everything else isn’t deteriorating.”