Damaged sewer lines replaced in Lancaster

April 15, 2004|JIM LOGAN

LANCASTER - The folks on Price Court are about to get some long-needed relief.

After years of backed-up sewage lines and smelly spills, crews are nearing completion of the replacement of the sewer line on the short street off Richmond Road.

"We've been promising it to them for at least 10 years and it's finally happening," Millard Rose, the city's interim utility manager, said Wednesday.

The sewer line has been a problem that's long tested the patience of residents of the dead-end street of small, neat homes.


The chief culprit is the Orangeburg pipe used for the sewer line. Made of a kind of hard paper infused with coaltar pitch, it tends to break down and collapse over the years. It's also prone to tree root intrusion.

It didn't help that the original builders just filled the trench with dirt, rather than the gravel used today. Gravel, placed around pipe, helps to distribute the weight of the road and cars.

"They didn't use gravel back then," said Paul Ponder, owner of Ponder's Excavating, which is digging up the old pipe. "The weight of the ground just flattened it."

The project will use about 1,600 feet of 8-inch PVC pipe for the main sewer line. It should last forever, Rose said.

Most of the pipe has been replaced

So far, crews have replaced 85 to 90 percent of the Orangeburg pipe in the city, Rose said.

Price Court should be the last of the major sewer line projects for a while.

Although the city had been planning to replace the sewer line since February, a nasty late-night backup in early March forced the city's hand. Work on the project, which will cost about $175,000, began March 16.

The work has required crews to tear up the street - even a few back yards - as they hunt for sewage lines that in some cases where buried under homes.

"It's a mess now, but it's gonna be better," Rose said. "Folks don't mind."

Beth Shearer doesn't. She's lived on Price Court about five years, and the sewer system has been a smelly problem since she moved in.

"I'm real glad to see it," she said. "I'm really tickled how fast they're doing it."

Rose expects the new lines to be in place by the end of next week. He'll let the ground settle for a couple of weeks, then crews will repave the road.

"It's well worth getting this done and out of the way," he said.

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