Residents near Greenbelt Walkway are going to need to alter their exercise routes. A sewer project along the Greenbelt Walkway is expected to restrict access to part of the popular trail for most of the summer and potentially longer.
The project – a $1.5 million sewer replacement initiative – began June 17 and will reduce the size and frequency of combined sewer overflows. It’s also a requirement of the city’s stormwater permit.
Completion is supposed to be complete by July 31 but could extend to August.
Combined sewer systems are designed to collect rainwater runoff, sanitary sewage and wastewater in the same pipe. While systems typically transport all wastewater to the water treatment plant, heave rainfall or snowmelt can cause overflow that discharges into local waterways.
The particular overflow in this case is mainly stormwater, but there is still some sewage in the mix. Combined systems were built prior to the implementation of the Clean Water Act of 1972 meaning the concrete pipe has deteriorated at a faster rate and will be replaced with PVC to ensure longevity.
The 24-inch pipe installed in the 70s is too small to handle the amount of water flowing at peak times so it will be replaced with a 36-inch pipe.
This project is only a small part of the larger projects addressing the combined sewage overflows throughout the city.
As of last year, there were only four combined sewer overflow locations that discharge 3.5 million gallons combined a year.
Since 1986, the city has spent more than $45 million addressing combined sewer overflow issues.