Board will seek bids for ‘smoke test’ of sewer mains, manholes inspection

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously adopted a resolution to seek bids for a “smoke test of gravity mains” and inspection of sewer manholes.
Board members took the action during their April 17 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman John Troncone and seconded by Alderman Billy Ray Morris.
The resolution states that the examination will be conducted on all gravity mains and manholes within Oakland’s Area 1 as identified on the Sanitary Sewer Base Map of the town’s Water and Sewer Department.
It authorizes Town Recorder Tammie Hightower to perform the necessary “competitive bidding process” in accordance with specifications developed by Public Works Director Harvey Ellis and all applicable legal requirements. The specifications require inclusion of a performance bond equal to the amount of the awarded bid.
During discussion shortly before the vote, Mayor Chris Goodman recalled that the board awarded a $12,145 bid on Jan. 16 to repair a sewer pipe on the south side of Highway 64 in the 7500 block.
He said the pipe was cracked because an easement was “apparently” not adhered to when a natural gas line owned by the town of Somerville was originally installed “on top of it.”
If there was a heavy rainfall, the mayor said, wastewater “occasionally” came out of the manhole cover in that area.
Goodman said the sewer pipe was repaired, and the gas line was moved “a proper distance” away from it. Somerville “accepted responsibility” and reimbursed Oakland for all the costs incurred.
Although he had hoped that would solve the entire problem, the mayor noted that there has subsequently been “one instance” where the water has not flowed through to the Wastewater Treatment Plant and been processed.
“A certain amount is coming up out of the same manhole,” he acknowledged, “which shows that there were multiple problems instead of just the one. So, now, we’ve got to find out why the water’s not flowing.”
Ellis said that causes problems at the Plant, where the employees have to work overtime to treat the rainwater along with the wastewater.
Alderman Karl Chambless said it “seems like” Oakland is always checking “one thing” and then discovering that it should have checked everything. He asked whether the bid is for examination of all the manholes.
Ellis said Area 1 is basically the “northeast quadrant” of the town, which extends from the Oakland Woods subdivision to Terry Road and then east along Highway 64 to the intersection of Highway 194.
“It’s approximately 160 manholes and 35,000 feet of main,” he noted. “So, it’s not in a small area.”
Ellis said the “smoke test” is the “most economical” method of identifying breaks or leaks in a sewer line. He called it “routine maintenance,” where he identifies the problems.
“Once they’re identified, I’ll be coming to you guys to resolve those issues, whatever they may be,” he told the board members. “This is the first step in moving in that direction.”
Goodman has said that, when water comes out of a manhole, it must be documented and sent to the state, which has a specified cleanup process to ensure that there is no health hazard.
During a telephone interview late last week, the mayor noted that the state has thus far not found it necessary to inspect the area. He said Oakland is trying to make sure it maintains that “good standing.”
oakland-news.com

Mayor Chris Goodman

Mayor Chris Goodman