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Lisbon facing big sewer line problem

LISBON — The village has a major sewer line break that is sucking it dry.

The village has spent $36,000 in the past month trying to prevent a collapsed sewer line at the corner of Saltwell Road and North Market Street from overflowing and backing up into nearby businesses until officials can find the money to permanently fix the problem.

The issue dominated most of the discussion at this week’s village Board of Public Affairs meeting, with officials saying the problem began when a waterline break washed away the dirt around the sewer line (the lines run parallel to each other) causing a 30- to 40-foot section of ground to collapse, damaging the sewer line. Dailey Excavating was paid $14,800 to make temporary repairs, and another $21,600 was spent on Family Flush to pump out the line for two weeks and prevent the accumulating sewage from overflowing.

To save money, after determining there was no quick fix, the BPA began pumping the sewage to a manhole via a temporary discharge line placed on the roadway until they decide what to do. There is no quick and easy solution because any work done at the intersection would interfere with electric poles, the traffic light standard and related underground electrical lines, and a retaining wall.

“It would just create a myriad of problems. Some of it is so deep (up to 11 feet) we couldn’t dig it up without causing other problems,” said BPA member Bill Hoover. He said a permanent solution would require installing a new line from the intersection 285 feet south to the closest manhole, which would cost an estimated $108,000, the great majority of which would have to be contracted out. The sewer department ended the year with a $48,000 carryover balance.

Senior water plant operator Chris Peterson, the BPA’s de facto utilities director, contacted county Engineer Bert Dawson, and he is going to help Lisbon seek an emergency grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission, which would cover 90 percent of the cost. If that does not work, he said they can seek an emergency loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority.

“Nick (from the engineer’s office) and Mr. Dawson have said they won’t leave us hanging. It’s good to have them on our side,” Hoover said.

Mayor Peter Wilson said he would ask state Rep. Tim Ginter, R-Salem, and state Sen. Mike Rulli, R-Salem, to send letters of support of their efforts to obtain emergency funding.

Until then, the BPA will continue to use two portable trash pumps to send the sewage down the road to the manhole. Peterson said it is cheaper to keep using the smaller trash pumps than purchase a large pump for $18,000.

Peterson said the problem is whoever installed the line in the late 1970s used a waterline instead of a sewer line and it is deteriorating, not to mention the line is the wrong size.

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