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Village of Star Prairie: Sanitary sewer reconstruction project hits glitch

If you have driven through the Village of Star Prairie recently, you have most likely encountered some traffic congestion as you leave the village headed north on Highway 65. Heavy equipment required to complete construction on the North Area Sanitary Sewer Reconstruction Project has narrowed passage over the past couple weeks.

At their monthly board meeting last Wednesday evening, trustees heard from Village Maintenance Operator Brody Larson about a several snags the construction project has encountered while crews worked to replace the last stretch of pipe running up the hill alongside Highway 65..

According to Lason, the reconstruction has reduced the excess water flowing into the system from 60,000 gal. a day to 25,000 gal. a day. Excessive ground water is still flowing into the system through three existing manholes at the joints where the manholes connect to the new pipe put in place as a result of the reconstruction project.

“I talked to A1 today. They said they have to contact a company to come in and cut a hole in the pipe and spray foam around the joint to stop the water from coming in. The water is coming in from where they had to cut to bring the new pipe in when they ran the new sewer pipe. They had to do the same thing when they couldn’t get the water to stop at the lift station. Once they get that fixed, we should be good. That won’t be at our cost,” explained Larson.

The reconstruction project also called for the replacement of sewer pipe running up the hill alongside Highway 65 going north out of the village. Plans called the use of a technique called bursting to remove the old pipe which was expected to be made of a clay like compound. Unfortunately the contractor discovered the northernmost length of the sewer pipe was steel and not the clay compound.

“They can only burst through certain kinds of pipe. One that they cannot, without bringing in huge equipment, is steel. What happened is, half of the stretch is this clay-like pipe, really asbestos concrete pipe known as ac pipe, and the other half is steel. They have to expose both end of the pipe to do the bursting and they found the steel pipe. They were about half way through the project when they found this last stretch is steel. If it was completely falling apart and water was rushing in, I would have made a different decision, but with it being fairly intact and with it being steel, it’s not worth the expense. So basically we are not replacing that section of pipe,” explained Stevens Engineers Angela Popenhagen.

Larson explained the village would still be billed for the work, but Stevens will be reimbursing the village.

“There was a misunderstanding on the pipe. Not our fault. We’re still getting billed for it. Angela (Popenhagen) is looking at her insurance to cover that cost,” said Larson.

“So there is a chance those costs will be reimbursed to the village. The mistake was made by Stevens missing the different pipe, so we couldn’t complete the project the way it was intended. Stevens admitted it was their fault and it should be on their dime, so they were contacting their insurance company. Hopefully our cost will go down some,” added Board President Chad Peterson.

Trustees announced they would be raising the sewer rate $3 beginning Jan. 1, 2017 to help cover the $233,348 price tag for the North Area Sanitary Sewer Reconstruction Project and Cast In Place Pipe (CIPP) Project.

Other business

Trustees announced the public hearing to discuss the 2017 budget will be held Nov. 30 at the Community Center starting at 6 p.m.