Published On: Wed, Nov 21st, 2018

Raleigh’s Sewer Pipes Continue to Leak Sewage

Raleigh’s sewer pipes are old, and there are more than 200 miles of pipes in the city that are in a failing state or have failed. Government officials do not have the funding to be able to repair the infrastructure, leading to over 10 sewage spills in Raleigh last week along.

The city’s utility’s director claims that the issue is definitely concerning, but he has downplayed the situation saying that it is not a crisis. He points out that the age and size of the system, which spans 5,000 miles, will lead to any system having issues when significant rainfall occurs.

Hurricane Florence photo/ NASA

Rain fell in the region last week, with over 4.3 inches of rainfall falling between Monday and Tuesday of last week. The rainfall occurred at a rate that was faster than when Hurricane Florence hit the area and dropped 6.98 inches of rain over a five-day period.

Rapid rain fall is causing the aging, complex systems to overflow and not be able to keep up, overflowing in many areas.

Raleigh is one of the many cities that are awaiting the Trump Administration’s infrastructure action, which has promised to help resolve many of the infrastructure issues across the country.

Piping and sewer systems in many areas are over a century old, leading to crumbling systems or systems that were designed at a time when populations were smaller.

Just 17 miles of pipe was repaired or replaced last year, with officials receiving far less funding than they had requested this year. Council members requested a 3% rate hike for water and sewer, but it was voted to raise rates by just 1.6%.

Raleigh streams had over 7 million gallons of sewage spilled into them alone last week, and Marsh Creek suffered from nearly 5 million gallons of sewage.

City officials are investigating several options to speed up the pipe repair in the city, including Trenchless Pipe Repairs  which uses “advanced lining techniques that allow repaid and rehabilitation of pipes without needing to excavate roads and buildings” and taking bids from numerous contractors.

The belt line is responsible for the majority of the leaks, with 8 of 10 leaks occurring within the belt line. Previous piping methods throughout the decades have also failed, including concrete pipes that were built in the 1980s and have started to fail. Resin pipes, featuring fiberglass, have been used that will last 75+ years.

Supporters of replacing sewer lines suggest that City Council members failed the community by not voting for the recommended 3% rate hike, which would have resulted in less than a $2 increase in monthly water and sewer bills.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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