ELKINS — Although the City of Elkins’ Phase 2 sewer separation project hit a literal rough patch this month, work is now “back on track,” an official said.
Bob Pingley, the city’s operations manager, told Elkins City Council this week that difficult soil slowed the project down for a time.
“Progress down on 15th Street has improved over the last few days,” Pingley said. “We hit some soils in there that were the worst we’ve ever seen. To be honest, on the job site there is probably 150 years of construction experience, and none of us have ever seen anything like that. We had to call in a geotechnical engineer to help us get it back on track, but we did that, and so now we’re moving pretty well.
“There are two crews working. One is on 15th Street, the other’s on Whiteman Avenue,” he said.
Beginning Monday, work on the project will temporarily close South Davis Avenue between 14th and 16th Street, as well as Whiteman Avenue and 15th Street between Taylor and South Henry. Officials said the closures will last several days.
“We’ll get that done as quick as possible,” Pingley said. “We’ll do our best to minimize the destruction, but it’s got to be done.”
The project is the second phase of sewer-system improvements Elkins is required to implement under a 2011 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of this project is to reduce the number of combined sewer/stormwater pipes in Elkins, so that sudden downpours are less likely to overwhelm the sewer system’s capacity and cause overflows of untreated sewage to the Tygart Valley River.
The project, which is funded by a $4.9 million bond issue, will not result in any additional increase in sewer rates, officials said. Work is expected to be complete sometime around mid-October.
Pingley also provided an update on the city hall parking lot renovation project.
“I guess everybody can see what’s going on back there,” Pingley said. “It’s moving along really well. We’re making good progress. Everything’s starting to look really good. We just got some concrete poured today, for the sidewalks. The conduits for the electrical work, those are going in.
“Sorry for the inconvenience (caused by the parking lot being closed for renovations) but it’s going to look great. I promise you that.”
It is projected to take close to 90 days to complete the project and the goal is to provide both city employees and the public with a much improved parking area.
Pingley also told council the city’s water meter replacement project is close to completion.
“At this time have over 4,000 new meters installed, out of a total of approximately 4,400 in the contract,” he said. “So we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty on that. We have to be done and wrapped up with the installation by mid-August.”
Newman Plumbing was contracted to replace the remote-read water meters in use by the city’s water customers. The water meters being replaced are five years past warranty coverage, and about 1,300 have already failed, city officials said.