NCC forging ahead to repair an aging Brandywine Hundred sewer system. Preventative sewer maintenance key for NCCo. - Community News
By Jesse Chadderdon
Posted Mar 02, 2010 @ 08:58 PM
Wilmington, Del. —
While New Castle County is forging ahead with efforts to repair an aging Brandywine Hundred sewer system, workers are also focused on more routine maintenance of the system as a whole.
With a $300 million price tag - the largest single capital project in the government's history - it's the county's hope that annual maintenance throughout the system will prevent other such expenditures in the future.
And there's another goal - meeting federal directives that the county reduce overflows, where pipes to fill beyond capacity.
How does that happen?
In some cases, pipes fail, allowing storm water to leak into the system and essentially flush sewage to the top. Sometimes, tree roots grow through piping, causing blockages. Other times, those blockages are caused by the accumulation of fats, oils and greases that collect in the system.
"It's just like cholesterol blocking an artery," said Councilman Bill Powers (D-Townsend) at Tuesdays Special Services Committee Meeting, where maintenance efforts were discussed.
Throughout the year, workers from the Department of Special Services are out inspecting hundreds of miles of pipe, using close circuit television and sonar and laser technologies to identify breaches in the system and pinpoint the appropriate remedies.
For protruding roots, for example, chemicals are used to eliminate blockages. And above the ground, the county is reaching out to residents - especially those living in large apartment complexes - about proper disposal of kitchen grease in an effort to reduce those blockages.
"We've been spending money in the right places," said Wayne Merritt, a senior manager within Special Services. "We know we're ahead of the curve, it's just hard to quantify how far."
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