Com­mit­tee backs mil­lion-dollar fix for grout prob­lem

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com ArielAtFree­man on Twit­ter

KINGSTON >> A Com­mon Coun­cil com­mit­tee fa­vors pur­su­ing the use of a high­pres­sure wa­ter jet with a ro­tary cut­ting tool to re­move grout block­ing the Washington Av­enue san­i­tary sewer system, an ef­fort that’s ex­pected to cost more than $1 mil­lion.

The Fi­nance and Au­dit Com­mit­tee voted Wed­nes­day to bor­row $100,000 to fund the de­sign of the re­pair pro­ject us­ing the wa­ter jet, as well as to so­licit bids from com­pa­nies that could per­form the work. The com­mit­tee also en­dorsed bor­row­ing another $50,000 to pay on­go­ing rental fees for a pump system used to tem­po­rar­ily by­pass the clogged sec­tion of pipe.

The bor­row­ing must go to the full coun­cil for ap­proval. The coun­cil next meets Nov. 1.

The grout block­age oc­curred dur­ing the pro­ject to re­pair the sink­hole that opened on Washington Av­enue in April 2011. Dur­ing the re­pair, grout some­how pen­e­trated a new sewer lin­ing, block­ing a por­tion of the pipe.

The city still is look­ing into how that hap­pened and who is re­spon­si­ble for the block­age.

Ti­mothy Moot, a principal with Clark Pat­ter­son Lee, said Wed­nes­day that his firm had been hired to look at op­tions for re­mov­ing the grout from the sewer line. He said the firm con­sid­ered us­ing a di­rec­tional drill to go through the grout, but that op­tion was risky be­cause the drill could de­vi­ate out of the pipe en­tirely. Moot said the firm also looked at in­stalling a new ac­cess shaft in the system, which would be the most costly op­tion at $1.7 mil­lion to $2.1 mil­lion.

High-pres­sure jet­ting was the op­tion rec­om­mended, with the cost es­ti­mated be­tween $1.1 mil­lion and $1.3 mil­lion, Moot said. He said the city tried to jet the grout out pre­vi­ously but did so from a greater dis­tance than now pro­posed. The closer the equip­ment is to the block­age, the more pres­sure can be gen­er­ated, Moot said.

“The vendor of the equip­ment is pretty cer­tain that it can an­ni­hi­late that grout that’s in there be­cause it’s not re­ally struc­tural con­crete,” he said.

City En­gi­neer Ralph Swen­son said the pre­vi­ous at­tempt was un­suc­cess­ful be­cause the pres­sure and horse­power of the equip­ment were too low due to the re­mote­ness.

That at­tempt was made from an ac­cess point on El­iz­a­beth Street.

Moot said what­ever con­trac­tor the city chooses could ac­cess the block­age from the Tan­nery Brook shaft, which is close to the af­fected por­tion of the tun­nel. He said it would take six to eight weeks for the pro­ject to be com­pleted and would re­quire a por­tion of one lane of Washington Av­enue to be closed. Moot said the pro­ject would in­volve by­pass­ing the sewer dur­ing the work, as well as get­ting wa­ter out of the tun­nel.

If the high-pres­sure jet­ting does not work, the city would need to con­sider in­stalling a new shaft, Moot said.

Moot said once the block­age is re­moved and the tun­nel is cleared of de­bris, the city could con­sider some long-term op­tions for improving the safety and con­di­tion of the over­all tun­nel system.

As for the by­pass pump, Swen­son said it costs the city about $7,250 per month to rent. He said money the coun­cil pre­vi­ously ap­proved for the rental is nearly ex­hausted but the new fund­ing will cover the rental for the next sev­eral months.

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