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'Disruptive' Eastmoreland and Woodstock sewer repairs planned for next fall

by: ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - At an open house at the Woodstock Community Center, Debbie Caselton (left), public affairs spokesperson for the Bureau of Environmental Services, talked with Eastmoreland Heights resident Maggie Hall about the 'disruptive' sewer repairs that will take place in both Eastmoreland and Woodstock in the fall of 2013.Readers may recall an article in the September issue of THE BEE about trenchless sewer repair. As described, that method of lining pipes is for sewerlines which are not as deteriorated as are the ones in a repair project discussed at open houses in October.

On October 24th and 25th two identical open houses took place in Woodstock and Eastmoreland, to explain to the public a major sewer repair project slated for the fall of 2013.

“We like to get plenty of notice to the neighborhoods, because this sort of repair is so disruptive,” explained Bureau of Environmental Services public affairs spokesperson Debbie Caselton at the open house at the Woodstock Community Center.

In the Eastmoreland and Woodstock neighborhoods, over 35,000 linear feet of existing sewer pipes are going to have to be replaced. They were installed by the city between 1920 and 1950, and today they are seriously deteriorating.

A map presented at the open house showed the streets to be affected, and color-coded the type of replacement that will be done on each. Charts explained the three different replacement or repair methods that will be used: Bursting, Pilot Tube Micro Tunneling, and Open Cut.

For example, on S.E. 29th Avenue between Knapp and Lambert, on a small section of S.E. Claybourne, on Knight between 41st and 43rd, and on Henry between 39th and 40th there is enough intact pipe to create a path through which a new pipe can be dragged into place. This very fast and noisy pneumatic method is called “Bursting”. Caselton reassures that the noisy part is very quick – the bursting of the old pipe.

A section of Reed College Place will have Pilot Tube Micro Tunneling, because the existing pipe is too deteriorated to use the path of the old pipe. Instead, a parallel pipe will be installed by boring underground at a depth of about 15 feet. This method also allows for the least disruption to Reed College Place’s park and trees.

However, nearly 85% of the deteriorating pipes in the two neighborhoods will be replaced by the traditional Open Cut method, which is most cost-effective but alsothe most disruptive. It requires digging up the existing pipe and replacing it, sometimes with a larger size sewerline.

Replacement work will take at least several weeks per block, and will be done on Mondays through Fridays, and on some Saturdays, 7am to 6pm. Parking will be prohibited during the day in affected areas, and some access to driveways will be delayed during work hours.

Recognizing the disruption to these areas taking place at the same time as nearby light rail construction and as the Sellwood Bridge replacement, Project Manager Colleen Harold said, “We meet regularly with Portland Bureau of Transportation, Tri Met and the Water Bureau to make sure we are coordinating.” Caselton added, “If we have to shut something off, there will be plenty of notice.

Another open house to provide information and answer questions will be held in the fall 2013, after the contractor is hired and before work begins. Those living on affected streets will also receive a mailing with information sometime in 2013.

The entire project is expected to take a year, with completion in the fall of 2014. The pipe replacement projects are fully-funded by the city, budgeted from existing sewer fees.

Questions? Contact Debbie Caselton at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – or call her at 503/823-2831. You can also go online to: www.portlandonline.com/bes/eastmorelandwoodstock