WARSAW — Flooding at Central Park may be on its way out due to the efforts of the city’s utilities department and the clearing of a 36-inch storm sewer line heavily blocked with tree roots.
Rainfall would frequently flood areas of Central Park eliminating use for parking and recreation. Despite what should have been adequate drainage, there was still a major problem.
A year ago Brian Davidson, utilities manager and others began looking at possible solutions to the line that runs along the lake shore to Osborn Street and to the stormwater pump station. The investigation resulted in something no one had ever seen before, including professionals. The line was full of roots, grit and debris. Approximately 2,200 feet needed to be cleaned.
“Every joint had roots coming out of it,” stated Brian Davison, utility manager. He pointed out the joints were every 5 feet apart. The roots were 3 inches to 4 inches in diameter.
A contractor was hired to clear out 500 feet of the worst section. It took five days to clean out the roots, at a cost of $40,000. During that same time several manufactures of equipment for this purpose provided demonstrations. The city opted to purchase its own saw, which could fit on the vacuum trucks used for sewer cleaning. The cost was $19,000.
City employees spent two weeks cleaning the remaining 1,900 feet of line. Last spring 1,700 feet was cleaned, the remaining 200 feet in the fall.
“It seems to have worked. The pump is running as there is more flow to the station,” said Davison. “The overflow pump at Indiana and Canal is running a lot fewer hours and the main pump is running a lot more hours.”
But the biggest result is the water, while it still creating flash flooding, is draining quicker. “Once we have the larger rains the true effects will be seen. The initial work seems to have helped. It’s not as bad as in the past. It’s a big improvement.”
It is estimated the city has saved close to $80,000 from the work done in house. This tool can be used throughout the city’s storm and wastewater system in cutting away debris in lines.