Sewer issue needs ‘immediate attention’

Sewer issue needs ‘immediate attention’

Nicholas/Oak main three-quarters clogged

By Rick Wade
The 28-feet gap in a single-lined brick sewer that runs underneath railroad tracks destined to carry high speed rail traffic isn’t the culprit that sent an influx of bricks into the Carlinville sewage plant back in late summer.

It is, however, of greater immediate concern, public works maintenance foreman Joe Boatman told the Carlinville City Council Dec. 3.

“This is the sewer at Nicholas and Oak, it runs north and south …when it goes south it goes underneath the (Union Pacific) tracks,” Boatman said. “The camera got in there right at 11 feet … That’s as far as the camera can get … but it zoomed in to 22 feet. At 22 feet you can see where the bricks have fallen down and there’s debris to the left. That sewer is probably 60 to 70 percent full right now. It’s very slow moving. If it rains we may have a problem with that sewer going up Oak Street, with the nursing home, the school. That could be a major problem.”

The gap was discovered by the railroad as it upgrades the tracks for high speed rail traffic.

Boatman has received an estimate of $11,500 from Moniger Excavation to repair the 28-feet section of the single-walled sewers.

He explained that in order to do the work, the Nicholas/Oak street sewer would have to be bypassed to Anderson Street.

“It’s something that may not need fixed tomorrow, but it needs fixed in the next couple days,” said Boatman. “It requires immediate attention. The sewer itself is in bad shape. When the high-speed rail comes through, it’s going to need replaced. No doubt about that.”

The council approved the bid. It also directed the public works committee to monitor the construction, and if additional damage was found, to approve that cost up to $20,000 more.

According to Alderman Joe Direso, there was $97,000 in the budget for sewer repairs.

Back on Sept. 11, the public works committee was told about “an unfortunate influx of bricks” the sewer plant had experienced after a heavy, drought-ending rain the week before.

The large number of bricks had officials concerned that one or more of the aging double-lined brick sewers was collapsing.
The council voted to approve televising the sewers in order to find any such damage.

That televising by Illinois Meter Co., Springfield, is still under way on the larger sewer mains, said Boatman.

“They are 54 and 60 inch mains, located in the south quarter of town. Those sewers are double-lined brick, and we are finding some areas with missing bricks on the inner part,” said Boatman.

“We have more brick sewers to do, but rather than spend $20,000 all at once, we are doing a little at a time. There was talk that it may be one bad area, but as I said from the beginning, it could be a lot of small areas that are bad, not just one big sewer ready to collapse and the road collapses. What we have found so far are four or five little areas missing bricks.”

Sales tax
The council voted to direct city attorney Will Hebron to draft an amended ordinance to put a one-percent sales tax increase referendum on the general election ballot now that there will not be a primary election.

There are no contested races among the Republican and Democrat aldermanic filings, eliminating the need for a primary.

Independent candidates have until later this month to file for the April election.

Alderman Mark Staerk, a member of the sales tax ad hoc committee, reported that the committee was working on a presentation to make the city’s case for the sales tax hike.

According to Hebron, if passed by voters, the sales tax would not go into effect until the following January.

Variance approved
The council approved an ordinance to rezone the property at 912 Morgan St., from single-family residence to rehabilitation, religion and education and then granted a special use permit for the property to allow Jerry and Bonnie Lane to open a beauty shop.

The council’s action put right a mistake that had been made when research was done on the property in question.

During a special meeting Oct. 31, the Carlinville City Council granted a special use permit to Lane, to allow him to develop the former Carlinville Area Hosptial Rehabilitative Services building at 912 Morgan St. into a beauty salon.

The one-story brick office building shares a paved and lined parking lot with a former doctor’s office. Across the street is BodyFit exercise facility; next to that, is the former Carlinville Area Hospital as well as the hospital’s sleep clinic, both of which share a large parking lot.

The property was originally believed to be zoned rehabilitation, which would allow the city to issue the special use permit. The council granted the special use permit, based on the erroneous information.

However, at the Nov. 5 city council meeting, after a complaint from a neighbor, it was discovered the property was zoned residential with a non-conforming use. After the business in a non-conforming structure is closed more than a year, it reverts back to what the originally zoning was, which was residential.

Day off
The council considered carrying on a long-standing tradition.

“In the past, this has been left up to (the late) Sonny Albertine, but he is no longer with us,” said Mayor Robert Schwab. “He always took pride in asking the city to give employees four hours off on Christmas Eve. This year we have a unique circumstance: the mayor is retiring, along with four aldermen, Christmas Eve is on a Monday. Will you consider making a motion to give employees eight hours off Christmas Eve, with no overtime incurred?”

The city council voted unanimously to give city employees eight hours off for Christmas Eve this year.