VALPARAISO | One of the scariest things on TV recently wasn't on cable or satellite. It was in Valparaiso's sewers.
While examining the sewer line in the alley south of Lincolnway behind Buffalo Wild Wings with a TV camera, Valparaiso's utility crews discovered the old 8-inch clay pipe had developed bellies and bends.
But the worst part was they couldn't televise it all the way from one end because it dipped so much in the middle they were worried about getting the camera stuck.
Mark Geskey, the utilities' assistant distribution manager, told the utilities board Tuesday the 380 feet of pipe between Morgan Boulevard and Michigan Avenue has been cleaned line 41 times since 2008. Utility Director Steve Poulos said they knew the line was a problem and would have to be replaced eventually.
"It's time to do it," Poulos said.
The board agreed to hire McMahon Engineers for $11,250 to design the replacement of the pipe with a plastic one. Geskey said the downspouts from the surrounding buildings all empty into the existing pipe, but that will be changed to empty onto the ground and drain into a nearby stormwater outlet to eliminate the combined sewer.
He said the cold rainwater hitting the grease from the restaurants caused the sewers to clog. The restaurants are supposed to prevent the flow of grease into the system, but Poulos said the age of the line made that difficult.
The utilities have money in the budget for emergencies like this. Geskey said he expects to begin the replacement in late summer. The work will not require any of the businesses to shut down, he said.
The board also approved a contract with the developer for the installation of water mains, meters and a fire hydrant for the final phase of 27 lots in the North Hampstead development on North Calumet Avenue for a total of $77,131.
The project will be done by Satoski Bros. Excavating.