By Sterling McGinn

After a number of sewer mains were relined in the Village of Newberry sewer system, Village Manager Allison Watkins told the council at the December meeting that the company will be coming back to redo portions of the project, though the main parts are complete.

The Village Council met on Tuesday, December 19. The meeting was held a half-hour earlier to review the proposed operating budget for the coming year.

“We are now in the post-construction review phase and in the last week, we have realized that the some of the things the contractor did are not acceptable, and they will have to come back and fix them,” Watkins said.

The project was part of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund low interest loan and grant, which the village received to improve the sanitary sewer system. The estimated cost of the project was $1,025,000.

Fifteen blocks of sewer lines on West Ave A, B, C and Victory Way and Helen Street were relined using the cured-in-place method. The project aimed to restore the structural integrity of the mains and reduce sanitary backups and maintenance issues.

The work was done by Insituform Technologies. The work began on October 9, with cutting protruding taps and cleaning lines.

“There was supposed to be a pre-liner put in before the main liner and the company decided to not put it in and did not tell the village before they did it. The preliner is supposed to help the main liner adhere better to the inside of the pipes.”

Watkins is negotiating with the company to have the warranty extended on the liner, which currently expires after one year. She wants the company to scope all lines before the warranty expires.

Watkins said that Insituform’s final video of the completed project was very blurry. It did reveal another issue, though.

“When they cut the lateral openings for some of them, they left jagged edges…it should have been sanded off and smooth, so it doesn’t catch anything,” Watkins said.

Pieces of the liner that were cut to open the laterals, known as “cookies”, were not flushed out of the lines by the company.

“Two of the videos show a cookie laying in a lateral, and then another cookie laying in the bottom of the sewer main. We expressed our concerns with that, and my feeling is they should televise the mains from Victory Way all the way to the wastewater treatment plant to see if any of those cookies are around,” Watkins said.

She doesn’t anticipate the company will return to the project until spring and there should be no concern of any backups in the lines at this time.

“Over time, it could cause a problem and they are going to have to come back and fix it,” she said.

The village hasn’t received an invoice for the work yet, and Watkins said they won’t be paid until the village is satisfied with the work.

In other news, the Village of Newberry purchased a back-up generator for the wells.

“I am very pleased to announce that after about a year and a half of work, our water system, for the first time in the history of the village, has its own independent back-up generation system,” Watkins said. “If the power goes out, within 30 seconds the generator here and the generator at wells six and seven will kick on and there will be no disruption in water services.”

Watkins has been worried about the potential of a power failure disrupting services since the Fairbanks Morse generator broke down a couple of years ago. “It is a huge relief to know that if we lose power at the substation, that people will have water and we don’t have to worry about pipes freezing,” she said.

Finally, the topic of the downtown trees was briefly touched on. Watkins noted that the village is still waiting on permits from MDOT but will be moving forward with the removal once the permits are received.