Crews install new pipe to replace an aging sewer line - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Crews install new pipe to replace an aging sewer line

LAWTON, Okla._A Lawton sewer line upgrade that's part of a major city project is picking up pace.

Lines of pipe can be seen near southwest Sheridan Road and Woodlawn Drive. They'll be used in the second phase of a four-phase project that goes from near the southeast water treatment plant all the way to Goodyear Boulevard. The first phase, which ended near 11th Street took three years. The current phase started in January and is expected to be finished next March.

The pipe will be 14 feet below the ground and stretch 10,000 feet. The installation process on similar pipe started in January to replace a 40-year-old concrete sewer main.

"It has reached its life. Concrete is not the best design for sewer lines because the nature of hydrogen sulfate gas created in sewer lines. It turns into sulfuric acid and eats concrete up," explained Rusty Whisenhunt, development and construction manager.

Whisenhunt says that creates holes in the pipe and water seeps through which can clog things up. He says keeping the pipes could have meant a loss in city development.

"We were really at the brink of not being able to allow additional development on the west side of Lawton. This right here removes that requirement," explained Whisenhunt.

They are upgrading the old concrete to new PVC pipes. The new PVC pipes will not only last longer, about 100 years, they’re also three times cheaper than concrete. The new pipes are also 54 inches in diameter; the concrete line had a 36 inch diameter.

The upgrades the sewer department has made actually won them awards from the Department of Environmental Quality. Whisenhunt said the old lines are taking on water and could actually cause sewage to back up in to the system.

"This right here, being at a sufficient capacity will keep that backup from occurring. So it should keep, when we have an extreme rain event, it should keep water from backing up to the sewer mains and back into homes," said Whisenhunt.

The current phase starts at 11th Street, near I-44, and cuts through the airport and goes to 38th Street and Coombs Road. On a good day, Whisenhunt says they can lay 12 pipes, a pace he says is pretty fast.

This phase is a $2.2 million project. All four phases cost a combined $12 million. The entire project is expected to be completed January 2022.

 

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