Damaged Bay Street sewer line to be replaced
After repeated attempts failed to patch a leaking sewer pipe, the North Tahoe Public Utility District is trying an innovative method to replace a portion of the Bay Street sewer line in Carnelian Bay.
On Thursday, a contractor inserted a new pipeline inside the faulty section, using a technique that splits the old pipe like a snake shedding its old skin.
In a routine televised inspection, the district discovered that a significant amount of groundwater was leaking into the sewer line, buried 15 feet beneath Gar Woods restaurant deck. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Board gave the district emergency authorization to make repairs.
A contractor’s two initial attempts to install a sleeve around the line’s defective section were unsuccessful. An effort to apply grout to the pipe also failed, leading the district to authorize the pipe-bursting replacement method.
The contractor will break the damaged pipe apart with a conical head that cuts the line and forces it into the surrounding ground. A new fusion-welded, high-density polyethylene pipe will replace the busted section.
Officials assume the pipe’s erosion was exacerbated by the continual leaking of groundwater, cleaning operations and failed repair techniques.
“All the activity surrounding the pipe has just not helped it out,” said Tom Goebel, the district’s chief engineer.
The pipe-bursting technique required extensive excavation and a 25-by-8-foot trench dug beneath Gar Woods’ deck.
The procedure began Tuesday and is expected to be completed as soon as today.
The new pipe is estimated to have a 70-year life cycle.
In a written statement, the district expressed its wish to replace the line in “a manner [that] least impacts the affected property owners.”
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