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Annual Sewer Line Replacement Project Underway

Newer Technology Avoids Digging Trenches on Home and Business Owner Property

The Norman Utilities Authority (NUA) recently awarded a contract for almost $1.8 million to Urban Contractors, LLC of Oklahoma City for replacement of about 25,100 feet or 4.75 miles of old deteriorated sewer lines. The project is a continuation of the Sewer Maintenance Program initiated in 2003 and funded by the $5 per month maintenance fee approved by voters for this purpose.

The project is generally bounded by Robinson Street to the north, Sherry Avenue to the west, Denison Drive to the south, and Berry Road to the east.

Many sewer lines are located in back yards between houses. The contractor will notify residents with a letter or notice a few days in advance of working in their yards and will work with each resident on an individual basis as needed. When dogs or small children may be present, temporary fences can be installed until the work is completed. Restoration of yards and fences will be made as soon as the work in that area is complete; usually within two to three weeks.

The primary means of replacing the sewer lines is by the pipe bursting method. The contractor digs a pit on either end of a straight run of the main sewer line, then inserts a cable, or mechanical links from one end to the other. They then break up, or “burst” the old pipe while pulling the new high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe underground. Since they do not dig a trench the entire length to replace the pipe, the technique is a boring technique, frequently termed “no-dig” or “trenchless.”

The newer technology, which the NUA has been using for the last several years, replaces the old cracked and leaking pipe. In addition to all new sewer mains, the project benefits include new service taps for each existing home and business in the project area. This does not include new plumbing on private property, but only the public portion of the customer’s service line. However, the NUA’s contractor will re-connect to each customer’s private service line.

There is a need to dig a small hole for each service line re-connection to the new HDPE line. Some of the main sewer lines may require open trenching, particularly if the line is shallow, requires realignment, or a change of depth or slope is required. Every manhole in the project area is cleaned, inspected for leaks and either rehabilitated or replaced.

Another benefit is elimination or reduction of infiltration of rain water into the sewer, which saves the Utility and its customers money by reducing excess flow to the Water Reclamation Facility and its treatment costs. The Authority has measured flow in some areas before and after rehab work to insure the reductions occur, particularly during significant rainfalls. Data collected to date shows a significant decline of inflow since 2003 due to this ongoing replacement program.

Questions concerning this project can be directed to the Norman Utilities at 405-366-5443 or Urban Contractors at (405) 478-5370.