The intersection of Goetz Drive and Southtown Boulevard will be closed for several days as the Regional Water Resource Agency repairs a failed sewer system. RWRA is running a bypass sewer as they investigate the issue and determine what repairs are needed.
Joe Schepers, RWRA executive director, said one of their deeper sanitary sewer manholes sank approximately five feet on Wednesday.
“We’re not sure exactly what the cause of the drop is at this point,” he said.
On Thursday, RWRA started meeting contractors on site, and on Friday the crews started stabilizing everything.
“They started stabilizing the soil and stabilizing the bank,” Schepers said. “They are doing what I call a forensic dig. Once we get everything stable we’re going to dig down to see and determine what it is, and from there develop a solution.”
Schepers said everything was in good shape a few months ago.
“We’ll know once we dig down and can put some eyes on it,” he said. “When it settled it completely collapsed.”
Schepers said the whole corner of the city around the intersection runs through that pipe.
“Basically when you flush your toilet or run your shower or dishwashers … it comes through this pipe that collapsed,” he said. “Because the pipe collapsed, in order to restore sewer service, what you’re seeing down the sidewalk is where we are doing a bypass.”
Basically, RWRA is redirecting the sewage before it gets to the part of the pipe that collapsed.
“We’re capturing it in that black pipe on top of the sidewalk,” Schepers said. “We are bypassing the sewage around the collapsed area and dumping it back into the system downstream. So instead of the sewage going in the pipe underground, it’s going in the pipe on the sidewalk.”
Schepers is asking the public to be aware of their surroundings when traveling in the area because periodically there will be lane closures as workers refuel and maintain the pump.
RWRA also has secondary pump out there in case the main one goes down. The pumps will automatically send a notification to an RWRA employee if there is a problem.
“We don’t want people rubbernecking or looking at the work going on by Goetz Drive,” he said. “We are asking for everyone to slow down and be patient and be aware. We don’t want an accident because somebody wasn’t paying attention.”