Riverside will take a comprehensive look at the condition of its sewer system this year in order to prioritize repairs down the road.
Last month, the village board voted to approve a $153,000 contract with Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. to evaluate the sewer system and identify areas that need attention, particularly with respect to areas where surcharging of sewers causes them to flood streets and residential basements.
“The primary reason is to identify deficiencies and prioritize their repair,” said Riverside Public Works Director Edward Bailey. “It’s all about maximizing the flow capacity of the sewer system.”
According to Burke’s proposal for the work, Riverside has about 20 miles of combined sewers (pipes that dispose of both storm water and sanitary waste) and another 12 miles of storm sewers (storm runoff only), ranging in size from 6 inches in diameter to 66 inches in diameter, under its streets.
Burke’s proposal states that their evaluation “will determine areas of limited sewer capacity that could produce a risk of flooding” and then propose solutions to reduce the risk of flooding. Those solutions would come with cost estimates and would be prioritized.
While Riverside has conducted various sewer repairs throughout the village in the past decade, many parts of the system are very old — perhaps 100 years old — and are woefully inadequate to handle today’s needs.
Bailey said he could think of at least one area in the village were a 10-inch sewer feeds into an 8-inch sewer, creating a chokepoint that contributes to flooding and back-ups during rain events.
“The other thing affecting surcharging of the sewers in the village is the overall capacity of it,” Bailey said. “There’s a limited, finite capacity. It’s about making the system operate at its highest level.”
Significant repairs or work to increase capacity will be very expensive.
“The ideal situation is that a significant problem can be corrected by a small amount of money,” said Bailey. “That could happen, too.”
Bailey added that such a comprehensive look at the village’s sewer system has never been undertaken before. He said he’d also like to take a similar look at the village’s water system in the future.
“That needs attention as much as anything else,” Bailey said.
It will take 4-5 months for Burke Engineering to complete the sewer survey and deliver it to the village board, according to Bailey.