Levy Court lays groundwork for U.S. 13 sewer main project

DOVER — Kent County Levy Court moved toward securing engineering services to plan the replacement of almost 3 miles of sewer pipe along U.S. 13 in Dover at their public works committee meeting on Tuesday night.

The area slated for the extensive “force main rehabilitation project” begins at the county pump station near Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus and terminates near Garden Lane by the Capital Commons shopping area.

According to the county’s public works director, Andy Jakubowitch, beginning the project in the fall may be possible after funding is secured.

The original sewer pipe that rests beneath Route 13 is a concrete one from the 1970s that was recently discovered to be in a serious state of disrepair.

“We had two main breaks recently on Route 13 near the Wawa. Through some investigation, we found that the pipe is in pretty bad shape,” said Mr. Jakubowitch.

During the committee meeting, Mr. Jakubowitch noted that the two possible funding sources his department is pursuing are DNREC and USDA.

“If DNREC funds the project, the labor would be subject to the state wage rates,” he said. “We’re leaning toward the USDA to avoid that. The market’s rates tends to be cheaper than state’s.”

After securing funding, the public works department would need to perform a preliminary engineering report and an environmental impact study — something Mr. Jakubowitch hopes to have in place by mid-summer. At that point, contractors can bid on the project.

The project, unavoidably, would affect traffic, said Mr. Jakubowitch. However, because of the method being used, disruptions could be minimized.

“The work we’re planning on doing would be trenchless,” he said. “We’d use access holes instead, and we’d space them out so we’re not going through intersections. We’d stop work for race days, holidays and things like that as well — like we have in the past.”

Successfully completing the rehabilitation project would also likely address a lingering odor problems that hovers around the Home Depot and Acme on Leipsic Road.

According to Dover public works director Sharon Duca and Mr. Jakubowitch, the odor is from added wastewater flow that’s been “temporarily” diverted from the county’s transmission line under Route 13 to the city’s pump station at the site.

This arrangement was made necessary because of Route 13’s compromised force main. When the rehabilitation project is complete, the added flow can be returned safely to the Route 13 line. For now though, the county’s public works department is using a “blower system” in the city’s pump station to help mitigate the odor.

“We have a temporary blower system that has helped a bit with the odor,” said Mr. Jakubowitch. “We ordered a new blower system that will probably have installed some time next week.”

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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