Nederland council gets pipe updates

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Something is rotten underfoot in Nederland and it’s not just the raw sewage running through the pipes — it’s some of the pipes themselves.

The city council received a preliminary report from Schaumburg & Polk, Inc. on the wastewater line evaluation in the city. The engineering firm broke the findings down into six primary areas, each ranked according to the severity of deterioration in each underground line.

The area designated as P1 had the highest rate of deterioration, or intrusion, and is to be found under Avenue H. The area designated as P2 is located under 27th Street and P3 is be found under 36th Street.

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Along with the report, vice president Rick Bourque showed pictures of the condition of the sewer lines, with varying degrees of deterioration in each one. The worst ones showed sections of concrete pipe that had been eaten away and had an exposed gasket hanging from the top; and another one had tree roots that had penetrated through it.

“There’s more deterioration than we expected to see in the area,” Bourque said.

However, there was no significant head loss, or pressure loss, in the running water when flow monitoring was conducted, according to Bourque.

“It’s possible other areas in town with sewage problems may alleviate problems on the other side of town when they are fixed,” city manager Chris Duque said.

Duque said the pipe areas were ranked in the order in which the contractors would fix them for “the public order and public safety.”

“Action needs to be taken,” Steve Hamilton, director public works, said after the meeting. “We need action.”

Hamilton explained that hydrogen sulfide led to the deterioration of the pipelines, leading to the intrusion that was photographed by Schaumburg & Polk.

“The gas collects above the water at the top of the pipe and corrodes it,” Hamilton said. “The gas eats away at the concrete.”

As Hamilton had pointed out during the report, the contractors who put in the concrete lines did not realize they would be so susceptible to hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and other gases that would normally form in them.

“For them, the idea of concrete lines probably seemed a good idea at the time.”

According to Hamilton, the city has already replaced most of the smaller pipelines under 15 inches over the past 20 years.

Now, with the preliminary report by Schaumburg & Polk, Hamilton said they are looking at pipes 15 inches and beyond. Such reports include test inspections and flow monitoring.

“Technology’s changed in the past 17 years,” Hamilton said, adding that they are in a better position to conduct water runs and reroute them as demanded by the repairs and replacements.

“Part of this investigation is to see if an effective opportunity presents itself,” he said.

Earlier, when discussing the replacement of most of the small pipes over the past 20 years, Hamilton said they used a method called pipe bursting.

In short, pipe bursting is a trenchless method of replacing buried lines.

However, for the 15-inch and larger pipes cited by Schaumburg & Polk, excavation could be necessary if conditions deteriorate any further or if they fall apart.

In other council business, an interlocal agreement between the cities of Nederland, Port Neches and Groves was approved for the purchase of radio dispatch consoles in regards to the 2016 Port Security Grant Program.

Such a move would bring first responders’ communications systems to the digital age and help encrypt them better, according to Nederland Fire Chief Gary Collins.

“Everyone is doing upgrades like this,” Collins said. “You’ll secure communications by going digital. It will secure all communications for police, fire and everyone else.”

The total cost would be upwards of $454,000, with $340,000 being provided by federal grants.

Nederland’s contribution would be approximately $42,600. Port Neches and Groves would be approximately $31,000 each.

Action was approved to purchase the digital communication systems from Motorola Solutions, Inc.

In other council items:

  • Domino’s Pizza on Nederland Avenue was honored for their continued support of community efforts and for their notable fundraising efforts for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The employees for the Nederland Domino’s ranked No. 1 in the nation for the St. Jude fundraiser when they raised $18,303 for the hospital and its children.

“That’s an accomplishment,” Councilman Talmadge Austin said. “That’s great.”

General manager Casey LeBleu said their achievement was a reflection of the type of community Nederland is.

  • Nancy Landry, owner of Cropo’s Barber Shop, was honored for her 50 years of service within the Nederland community, working at and later operating the Boston Avenue business. She was recognized for “her exemplary dedication to her customers, her city and her business.”

April 10, 2017 is now recognized as Nancy Landry Day in Nederland.