OTTUMWA — Before a portion of Highway 63 crumbles beneath unsuspecting drivers, the Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility will correct its flaws.
The sewage force main that goes to the Ottumwa Regional Airport has had some pretty major problems. Parts of the present 10-inch ductile iron piping that serve as a sewer force main under all four lanes of the road have fallen victim to leaks recently. In the past three years, four leaks have sprung in the piping, with two of them coming in a one-week period last December.
Because the leaks are coming with some regularity, water pollution control officials have decided to fix the problem before it creates more of a hassle.
“Due to what we expect as a continuation, it’s imperative that we replace it before the pipe fails,” said Kam Reeves, operations supervisor for the Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility.
The plans and specifications for the project, called the Airport Force Main Replacement Project, were accepted by City Council on Tuesday. Now that the plans have been approved by city officials, bids are being sent out to construction companies.
Next Tuesday, officials will hold a pre-bid meeting, with all of the bids due Thursday, Nov. 21. After a bid is accepted, the City Council will have to approve the total cost and award the contract for the project to the bid that is selected. The total estimated cost for the project is a little over $150,000, which, according to Reeves, is not as much as one would think.
“It’s actually much cheaper than you would expect for this large of a project,” he said.
Reeves placed the completion date for the pipework as Jan. 17 of next year. Laying the pipes and securing them will only be about a three-week process, he said. He has hopes that the entire project will be completed by June 20.
Thankfully, there will be no road closures for this project. Reeves said the piping work that will be done will be on either sides of the roadway, so shutting down the highway will not be necessary.
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