A $13 million project in Sioux Falls is drawing to a close, and that means more than 15,000 feet of new sewer line is now in use.
The job isn't pretty, but what new underground pipes are carrying through central Sioux Falls needs to go somewhere. Today, the pipes started taking that sewage through the city to the waste treatment plant. It's a project that wasn't scheduled to begin until next year but is nearly complete.
"We knew we were going to replace this; we just didn't realize the corrosion was at the rate it was. The accelerated corrosion, the pressure of the water in the pipes created some issues," Sioux Falls Public Works Utility Operations Administrator Trent Lubbers said.
Those problems were found last fall during an emergency sewer assessment. So, the project went forward this year crossing many obstacles including busy roads and the Big Sioux River. But that wasn't the biggest hurdle for crews who were on a tight schedule.
“Time was an enemy for us because we wanted to get it done in a short period of time to repair that backbone sewer through the City of Sioux Falls," Lubbers said.
Now that the pipes are in place, doubling the capacity of the main line, there's still some work to get done above ground. That will include planting grass and trees to hide evidence of the work. Sections of bike trail that were torn up will also be replaced.
"Working with the parks department to get the bike trail restored in a proper amount of time was certainly something we wanted to get done quickly. It's one of the crown jewels of Sioux Falls and we wanted to get it restored as quickly as possible," Lubbers said.
That work should be done in early October.
The pipes that went into the ground are 60 inches in diameter. The city says they're also more resistant to corrosion than the old pipes, and stronger, which means the chance of a collapse is less likely.