lines, sewer force main, sewer tap, sewer contracts in limelight this week
Rains and flooding create more sewer line
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[JAN. 26, 2005]
Heavy rains and flooding
continue to take a toll on local aging sewer lines. This past spring
workers made numerous emergency responses to collapsed sewer lines.
Many of the deteriorating sewer lines are only single-layered brick
that run beneath streets in the older sections in and around
downtown Lincoln. Much of the area around Pulaski Street has already
The 12-inch round section that
collapsed this week is at the intersection of Clinton, Logan and
Fifth streets. A visual telescoping of the line will determine the
areas of damage and replacement. Sewer manager Grant Eaton said that
they are getting estimates to slip line the section to fix the
Flooding also created another
problem of potentially larger magnitude. A bank supporting railroad
tracks on railroad right of way has collapsed at the sewer plant
grounds, exposing a force main. The eroded bank needs fixing soon to
prevent the main from breaking. It is believed the tile runs from
City engineers placed an emergency
call to the railroad when they discovered the erosion late last
week. Railroad representatives were quick to respond, Eaton said,
and were on the scene three hours later. The city has been placing
large rocks around the force main for support until the railroad can
repair the damage. An answer to repair plans is expected from the
railroad officials sometime Thursday or Friday, Eaton said.
A newly built business will be asked
to pay back sewer fees it has accrued since illegally tapping into
the city sewer. Insurance Auto Auction built a building in a new
business subdivision off Woodlawn Road.
When the owner petitioned the city
for annexation two weeks ago he acknowledged that they had tapped
into the city sewer line without a permit or notifying anyone at the
city building codes or sewer departments. They said it was an
oversight during the building process. No one seems to know how this
happened. The business was prepared to make amends.
Out-of-city rates are higher than in
city rates, noted Alderman Buzz Busby, who was absent two weeks ago.
He also said he would like to see the whole subdivision annexed in,
not just the one building.
well under way
Formal contract negotiations for the
sewer plant management and engineer began this week. Verl Prather
called a combined meeting of the sewer and finance committees for
last night (Tuesday, Jan. 25). All council members were encouraged
to attend. Most issues had been raised and discussed since EMC's
representative Joseph Miller came to the committees early last
December to present proposed contract changes.
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This will be the first time that the
two contracts, sewer and engineer, will be combined. The new
contract will begin May 1 and run to April 30, 2010.
The major change is that this makes
the engineer's contract a five-year rather than a four-year contract
that usually coincides with the mayor's term. The plant management
contract, which is not up till next year, will be renewed with the
engineering contract for five years.
Alderman Benny Huskins continued to
oppose this change, as he feels that making the engineer's contract
five years is too long. He maintains that this does not permit a new
mayor to choose the engineer. It also does not allow for council
opinion that may change with administration changeover.
Huskins also questioned if the
current engineer has gotten his engineering certificate yet. A
certified engineer must sign off on certain state and federally
sponsored projects. This affects if Lincoln can get funds for those
Mark Mathon said that he is
scheduled to take his professional engineer's exam on April 15.
Buzz Busby noted that in an
affiliation with EMC the engineering needs are more than covered.
They have engineers that can provide additional service if and when
it is needed. He also recalled that there have been emergency
situations that called for more expertise, and they have been there
with a phone call at no added cost.
City attorney Bill Bates has been
working with EMC's representative Joseph Miller and said that he is
satisfied with the contract language. More specifically there is
language that holds the city free of any financial responsibility or
binding in the contract if there should be any problem in the future
relating to the Prevailing Wage Act.
The contract should be ready by the
end of next week.