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Calgary sewer upgrade glitch results in sewage in basements

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A city construction project in downtown Calgary to upgrade to a sewage system has resulted in raw sewage pouring into the basements of local businesses.
Calgary sewer repair
Calgary sewer repair

A city construction project in downtown Calgary involving an upgrade to a sewage system has resulted in raw sewage pouring into the basements of local businesses.

The City of Calgary is undertaking significant repairs to both the watermain and sanitary main in the area of 10th Avenue and 14th Street.

According to Barry Baker, leader of project delivery for construction and water services with the city, there will be two phases to these repairs.

“The first phase is a sanitary bypass, which involves a polyethylene pipe above the ground,” said Baker.

“When the bypass is in place, we will reinforce the existing sanitary pipe with a liner. We are essentially taking the underground portion of the sanitary pipe out of commission and taking it above ground, while we are replacing the lining of the underground sewer line.”

The installation of the temporary bypass sanitary line and pump stations is designed to maintain sanitary service to nearby businesses.

This line is located above ground and runs down the middle of 10 Avenue SW.

“The initial plan met all the requirements in terms of the information we provided to the contractor, such as the flow capacity of the underground sewage line,” said Baker.

“It was designed properly, but we had to do the field test. It was meeting our needs for a full day up to Monday morning, Jan. 17. But, after we did the field test, it didn’t function properly to meet the peak flows, which resulted in a back-up.”

When the temporary bypass became non-functional, Baker said that the plug was pulled and the system was returned to the underground sanitary pipe.

However, before this could happen, raw sewage poured into the basements of businesses along 10th Avenue S.W. at 18th Street. These businesses suffered damage and were forced to relocate their staff as they cleaned up.

“Our contractor has come back with a redesign of the system that will be up and running tonight (Jan. 20),” said Baker.

Despite the delay, he said the project is still scheduled to be completed on time.

The project began on Jan. 10.The initial estimate was that it would take three to four weeks for 14 city workers and the contractor to complete the project.

The claims department at the City of Calgary cleaned up the jobsite and is investigating the cause of the sewage back-up.

Phase 2 of the project involves repair work on the watermain located at 10 Avenue and 14 Street SW. The required excavation area for this repair is substantial, so the intersection will be closed.

by Richard Gilbert

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