Stillwater News Press

December 8, 2012

Block grant in works to replace sewer lines in Stillwater

By John Filonow
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — A Community Development Block Grant is in the works to replace sewer lines along Sixth Avenue from South Blakely to South Pine streets.

City of Stillwater Grants Coordinator Valerie Silvers said the federal grant will replace approximately 9,200 feet of sewer line, or about five or six blocks.

According to a map, the project will run north of Sixth Avenue along South Blakely, South Stanley, South Gray and South Pine streets.

Silvers discussed the grant at Monday’s City Council meeting. She said the project had passed an environmental review and an intent to release funds notice had been published. The next step is advertising for construction bids in May.

The project funded by the federal grant is part of a larger plan by the city to replace sewer lines in the area, Silvers said.

Federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development are distributed through the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Silvers said. The city must match the grant money. Federal funds approved in September were $117,059. The city is adding $149,427.

Bill Millis, Department of Water Utilities deputy director and engineering manager, said his department keeps a priority list of city water and sewer lines that need to be replaced. The age of the lines is a factor, but not always a decider, Millis said.

Millis said he estimates the pipes in the area are 60- to 80-years old.

A camera inspection of the pipes should detect misaligned joints, deteriorated clay pipe and root intrusion.

The sewer lines are made of clay, and the joints come apart over time because of settlement, Millis said. The lines are then no longer sealed, he said, and roots start growing with the help of the water flowing through the lines.

“The roots get in and they grow like crazy,” Millis said.

Silvers has eligibility requirements for her grants. Millis said water utilities works with the grants department to find projects to present as options to the City Council.

To qualify for the federal grant, 51 percent of the population in the grant area must live at a low or moderate income level, Silvers said.