The Bismarck Board of Aldermen held an emergency meeting Thursday evening. This was the first emergency meeting called since Mayor Seth Radford was elected to office.
What warranted the meeting was the need for the board’s approval of $4,000 to fill a deep hole as quickly as possible.
The hole was initially excavated to fix a manhole issue but it was discovered to be a larger issue than anticipated. What the city thought was a simple flow restriction at a manhole ended up being an issue with the size of a large section of a sewer main line estimated to between 1,500 and 1,600 feet long.
The city had initially planned for work to be done by Dutch Contracting in reference to the sewer main but recently realized the problem was a different situation.
Wednesday evening Radford was contacted by Dutch Contracting and called to the area of School Street where the problem was discovered. The contractors informed the mayor of the line diameter issue and he called the emergency meeting the next day.
The sewer line, which was put in seven years ago, is eight inches in diameter when it should have a diameter of 10 inches. This oversight during the installation in 2012 has caused a “bottleneck” where wastewater running through the lines backs up as the volume of sewage is too large for the small diameter pipe.
The problem was only recently discovered with the excess amounts of rain the area has experienced causing greater flow through the pipe and bringing the situation to light, according to Radford. The pumps that push the water through the sewer line have to run continuously during periods of excess rain, and this is when the flow restriction becomes a real issue.
The contractors had to used trench boxes in the 14-20 foot hole at the manhole repair site to keep the dirt from collapsing in on them. Now that it’s been discovered to be a different issue they were to fill the hole and address the actual problem in the near future.
“We’re basically patching the section we found until we can do further investigation and go through the whole spectrum of the problem,” the mayor said. “We need to get this hole covered before the holiday weekend.”
The board approved the $4,000 unanimously and the hole had been filled in as of Friday afternoon. The larger problem will be addressed in the coming weeks.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3628, or at email@example.com.