Following recent leaks in the Day Island sewer force main and subsequent spot inspections, Pierce County will replace the pipe to prevent future leakage. Design work on the replacement pipe will begin immediately and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
In the meantime, Public Works and Utilities Sewer Utility crews will install a temporary force main and isolate the existing pipe, which is suspended from the Day Island Boulevard bridge. This work will begin Monday, May 21, and traffic will be limited to one lane during the three-day installation process.
The temporary force main will be installed along the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge. The sidewalk will be closed to users while the temporary force main is in place. The north sidewalk will remain open.
The Sewer Utility will work with the City of University Place, BNSF Railway and the Public Works and Utilities Bridge Engineering Division to design the replacement pipe. More details about the work will be available in the coming weeks.
Leaks repaired last weekend
Maintenance crews from the Sewer Utility repaired two leaks in the force main May 12 and 13. The force main is currently flowing normally, and spot inspections will continue to ensure pipe integrity.
The leaks, which were discovered May 12 by a Day Island resident, were caused by small holes in the pipe. Corrosion over the pipe's 40-year lifetime has thinned sections of the pipe. This aging was accelerated due to the influence of saltwater.
A minimal amount of fluid was released from the system, but the leak was contained in a small area and there were no negative impacts to humans or the environment. The state Department of Ecology was notified as required by law.
The force main consists of approximately 396 feet of six-inch ductile iron pipe. The pipe is wrapped in an insulation package and supported from overhead hangers suspended from the bridge. An inspection of the force main's insulation and hangars was completed in 2009. The force main had a leak in March 2012, resulting in regular monitoring of the pipe.
Larry Butner, Public Works and Utilities sewer utility maintenance manager
Lauren Behm, Public Works and Utilities sewer utility public information specialist