Record Herald Writer
Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 8.26.12

TIPP CITY – With the exception of a 30-foot length of sewer pipe that needs to be replaced, the city is right on target with the utilities for the new Abbott facility.

At the city council’s pre-meeting study session, council heard a construction update from City Engineer Scott Vagedes. The storm sewer, water main, and sanitary sewer are expected to be complete this week just ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline.

Unfortunately, a gasket was flipped in a 30-foot section of the sanitary main under the northbound lane of County Road 25-A during a mandrel pull and now that section of pipe must be replaced. A mandrel pull is a test that checks that checks the integrity of the pipe by pulling an object slightly narrower in circumference through the pipe.

“There’s a gasket in there to keep it pressure tight and they caught what appears to be the bottom of it and rolled it. So it will not hold air pressure,” Vagedes said.

Replacing the pipe means digging up a section of 25-A. There will be lane closures on 25-A west from the manhole at the intersection of Commerce Park Drive.

Work on the pipe is set to begin Aug. 21 and, fortunately, will not cost the city any extra money. It is also not expected to keep the city from meeting the Aug. 31 deadline, as the section of 25-A should be repaved by the end of next week.

According to Utilities Director Christy Butera, the Northern Area Water Authority (NAWA) technical committee recently hired a consultant to evaluate and design much needed improvements to the plant and come up with solutions for three of the plant’s big issues.

Currently, the plant is experiencing build-up problems in the outfall pipe from NAWA to the river. A crust of calcium has built up in the 12 inch pipe, reducing it to 6-8 inches in some places. This restricts the flow of reject water to the river and causes it to overflow into the storm water basin and storm sewer. Butera explained to council that the buildup is not coming from drinking water, but the reject water that is pumped to the river.

“The holding tank spills over into the detention basin during its high flow issues and then that water in turn spills over into the Kyle Park property,” Butera said.

The build-up, which is approximately 98 percent calcium, was discovered when a manhole was installed on the outfall pipe to determine the problem. It is uncertain how much of the pipe is experiencing build-up problems. While a course of action has yet to be decided, Butera listed several possible solutions including sending acid through the pipe to dissolve the build-up.

The second issue is with the plant’s four skids. The water is softened by running it through the skids. When three of the four skids operate at once, there are no problems. But when the fourth is activated, the plant shuts down.

“You need a certain amount of pressure for water to get through the skids. So we’re fine when we have one skid on, two skids on, three skids on, when we go to turn the fourth skid on, it’s enough that it robs the pressure from the plant and the plant shuts down. So there’s a hydraulic issue going on,” Butera explained.

The plant was designed to have two degasifiers, but one was eliminated as an unnecessary expenditure when the plant was built. A degasifier forces air through the water, which oxidizes iron and manganese and lets gases like methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen escape. Though NAWA currently functions well with only one, another will be required when the new Abbott facility comes online.

According to Butera, having one desgasifier only becomes problematic when the flow is over 4 million gallons, which currently happens about five times a year.

“When Abbott comes online, that’s going to be an occurrence we’re going to see more often,” Butera said.

There were only two items on the agenda for the council meeting itself: two motions that set the dates for two public hearings. Both will take place on Oct. 1 and concern rezoning.

The first is a public hearing to consider permanently zoning the recently annexed Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church campus to Conservation District (CD), due to most of the 130.284 acres being green space and farmland. At a planning board meeting in March, this area was temporarily zoned as CD.

The second public hearing considers the rezoning of 17 and 25 N. Fourth St., a residential duplex and a former church, from Urban Residential (R-2) to Community Center (CC).