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 Construction of new relief sewers is part of the city’s plan to manage heavy sewer flow and prevent basement flooding, particularly in wet weather, when flow into the sanitary sewer system exceeds capacity as a result of groundwater intrusion and inflow from storm drains.

Construction of new relief sewers is part of the city’s plan to manage heavy sewer flow and prevent basement flooding, particularly in wet weather, when flow into the sanitary sewer system exceeds capacity as a result of groundwater intrusion and inflow from storm drains.

Photo by Brian Louwers


‘Unfortunate’ soil adds $4.93 million to sewer project cost

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 21, 2020

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WARREN — A stretch of sandy, wet soil left underground by glaciers retreating at the end of the last “ice age” about 12,000 years ago is costing the city real money in 2020.

Todd Schaedig, facilities engineer at Warren’s Waste Water Treatment Plant, met with City Council members earlier this month to present a formal request for $4,930,165 in additional contract expenditures for construction of the Nine Mile Road relief sewer project near Schoenherr Road and Groesbeck Highway.

City Council members voted 6-1 to approve the additional appropriation. Councilman Eddie Kabacinski voted against the increase. The total amount of the contract with Ric-Man Construction for the three-mile relief sewer project is now $22,060,165.

Construction of new relief sewers is part of the city’s plan to manage heavy sewer flow and prevent basement flooding, particularly in wet weather, when flow into the sanitary sewer system exceeds capacity as a result of groundwater intrusion and inflow from storm drains. The effort also includes pump improvements and the construction of a 18 million gallon detention basin.

The total cost of all improvements was said to be about $53 million in 2018, before the latest increase in cost.

“The reason we’re here today is to ask for an increase in the contract due to some differing site conditions that we encountered during the project,” Schaedig said. “The project was set up as a tunnel job through what we thought and expected to be traditional Warren blue clay.”

Instead of the relatively dry blue clay, Shaedig told members of the City Council that crews encountered water and granular soil in a 1,300 foot section. As a result, a different tunneling method is required because the equipment is not suited to the wet, sandy conditions.

“It’s unfortunate that we ran into these wet, sandy soils, because we did do our due diligence,” Schaedig said. “We did do soil borings every 500 feet just like we had on all our other tunnel projects. Based on the soils we had normally encountered here in Warren, we didn’t expect to find this wet condition.

“We are a country that’s been shaped by the ice age, the last ice age, and we do run into these seams of sand and seams of water on occasion. That’s what kind of has given us the issues we have today,” Schaedig said.

Warren Waste Water Treatment Plant Division Head Bryan Clor said the next closest bid on the job came in at $2 million higher.

“That bidder would have had to deal with these soils, too,” Clor said. “We did do our due diligence. It was unfortunate soil conditions.”

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