Waterline repair to begin

Published 10:10 am Friday, February 27, 2015

Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman has the approval to hire a Tallulah, La., contractor to repair a waterline break at the intersection of Bowmar Avenue and Letitia Street, but work won’t begin on the repairs until next week.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Thursday approved a resolution declaring an emergency allowing Van Norman to hire Walker & Wells of Tallulah to fix the break in the 100-year-old, 6-inch waterline and replace a valve on the line without having to go out for bid. He said the cost of the project is undetermined pending an investigation of the line.

“We really don’t know exactly what the problem is, because we can’t get in there to look,” he said, adding the hole dug by city workers to find the leak was full of water from the winter storm and rain that hit the area Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the pipe is about 12 feet below the ground. City workers are not trained, and the city does not have the equipment, to work on utilities projects deeper than 9 feet.

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Van Norman said Walker & Wells is expected to begin work Monday. He said the company was selected because it repaired a 108-year-old 8-inch sewer line at the same location in 2013, and was familiar with the layout of the lines in the area. “They do primarily utilities work,” he said.

He said the water line is located above the sewer line, and the break was caused by dirt over the sewer line settling after the repair, causing the line to sag.

The problem with the sewer line was discovered early in 2013, and city officials declared an emergency to hire Walker & Wells to repair the damage. When the pavement at the intersection was removed, they found a 10-foot deep cavern where the soil under the street had been sucked away through the broken line.

In a related matter, the board approved the final payment of $7,080 to Suncoast Infrastructure of Florence for repairs to a 36-inch storm sewer line at intersection of Clay and Locust streets. The $141,600 project involved repairs to the drain supports and installing a lining through the drainpipe to repair a break in the line. The plastic sleeves was treated with warm water, causing it to harden and form a new pipe.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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