City of Topeka begins repairs on 60 year old sewer pipe

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 8:27 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The city of Topeka is beginning work on an $8 million dollar project to repair a sewer pipe serving the Wanamaker Corridor.

Deputy Utilities Director, Braxton Copley said, “This is a project that we absolutely have to do to protect the health and environment of the city people, as well as downstream people.”

The construction taking place is on a 60-year-old sewer pipe along a two-mile stretch.

Copley said, ”This project is to replace an existing, failing force main that runs from our pump station over at 10th and Wanamaker, it tracks along the I-70 corridor and then hooks up just on the other side between Fairlawn and Gage.”

He said the line has already had three breaks.

”Anytime that you have a sanitary sewer line that has a break, that’s going to allow for that sewage to escape and get into the environment,” Copley added.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Water Director, Tom Stiles, said that’s where they had some concerns for public health.

”It’s just a matter of old infrastructure finally getting caught up with its surrounding environmental conditions that cause the series of failures,” he continued saying, “The frequency of those types of breaks had to be curtailed and the city needed to do some action to get on the right side of the law.”

The ductile iron pipes will be replaced with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes.

Copley anticipates the upgrades will last them for years to come.

”It’s going to be a considerable improvement over what we have now,” he said, “Do I think that probably 75 years would be a reasonable expectation for useful life? Yes.“

Stiles added, ”We’re just in full support of the city investing in this. It will be a great benefit to the west side of town.”

Copley said there will be very little impact on businesses in the area.

The project is set to be complete by March 2021.

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