Bristol to continue to consider solutions to basement flooding

Bristol’s village engineer will be bringing back some preliminary projected costs for getting started on some alternatives aimed at diagnosing and relieving basement flooding experienced residents of 82nd Street near 198th Avenue.

At Monday’s regular board meeting, Ben Wood of Strand Associates, the village’s consulting engineering firm, gave a presentation on the problem, village efforts so far to figure out what might be the cause and some suggested solutions.

During rain storms, high amounts of “clear water” are entering the sewer system, ultimately over whelming it and causing sewage to back up into basements in the low-lying neighborhood of 82nd Street east of 198th Avenue, Wood said.

How the water is getting into the system is difficult to pinpoint precisely. Village inspections have determined there are no downspouts or sump pumps connected to the sewer system in the area, said village administrator Randy Kerkman. Smoke testing conducted in 2019 also id not turn up a major source of water such as a missing manhole cover.

In the absence of cross connections, the source of problematic infiltration is likely leaky manholes or pipes — including lateral pipes that connect houses to the sewer main, Wood explained. The village has done various types of testing and some televising of lines to determine where problems are without finding any large problem, just a lot of potentially smaller ones.

Wood suggested two possible solutions to helping the flooding homeowners in the short-term: installation of backflow valves or grinder pumps.

Backflow valves could be installed in the lateral sewer service lines and prevent water from flowing back into a home during times of peak flow, such as a rain storm. However, they can be disabled by obstructions and sewer service should not be used when high flow is happening, which can be difficult for a homeowner to detect.

A grinder pump would collect all the sewer outflow from a home in a pit and then pump it out to a higher point in the main. The old lateral then is cut and capped so it cannot back up into the house. Wood estimated the cost of installing a grinder pump to be $10,000 to $20,000 per house, which presumably would be paid by the homeowner. This pump will wokr except in a power outage, but at least that is a clear signal to the homeowner not to put water into the system, Wood said.

Faced with that pricetag, some of the neighborhood residents in the audience asked if other possibilities could be explored, such as new lines that could could connect more directly to the wastewater treatment plant or a large interceptor line nearby.

In recent years the village has hired a pumping company to pump water out of the manholes near the effected homes. This has proven to be effective, but can’t be guaranteed that the pumping company will be available, Kerkman said.

Some of the residents present said they did not have a flooding issue in all of 2019 due to the pumping, despite what Wood called a wet year.

“You guys need to keep pumping,” one of the 82nd Street homeowners said.

Village President Mike Farrell said while a guarantee can’t be made but “the commitment is there” to continue pumping as long as the pumping company is available.

Going forward, Trustee John McCabe advocated for doing some metering of manholes to see if a source of water could be found. Strand has meters that cane be rented for the purpose.

“I want to put those monitors out there so we can see where all the water is coming from,” McCabe said.

Wood also said he would come back to a future meeting with some estimates of costs of going forward with the metering as well as some of the new pipe projects proposed by audience members.


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