November 3, 2023 – Problems with Clay Sewer Pipes

On September 11 this year, we posted about the problem of clay sewer pipe failure and the point repairs we commonly perform. Pipe “failure” means cracks, leaking gaskets, displaced pieces of pipe, and entirely collapsed portions of the sewer main. In addition to blockages, failed pipe allows groundwater to infiltrate into the sewer system – during rainstorms, this infiltration can overload the system and cause sewer overflows even if there’s no blockage.

So, what has HWWS been doing about the problem? In January 2022, we kicked off a project to replace 16,683 feet of clay pipe in 17 areas where sewer backups had been occurring because of failed pipe. We’re pleased to report completion of the first phase of this project at 6 sites where we replaced 7,176 feet of clay pipe using a pipe bursting construction method. The $2,312,456 cost for this phase was paid from American Rescue Plan Act grant funds allocated to HWWS by the Harlingen City Commission.

The second phase of the project is underway and scheduled to be completed in January 2025 at a cost of $4,078,987.

The accompanying map shows the project areas in red. The photo shows the interior of a failed clay pipe typical of the sewer mains that the project is replacing.

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