Berlin city council plans to replace water pipes

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By Greg Ellison

(September 30, 2021) In addition to approving funding to replace failing stormwater pipes on Washington Street, Berlin’s mayor and city council also reviewed new tree lighting planned for the city center.

Council members voted to authorize spending up to $ 110,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to replace a city-owned storm drain that runs from 105 Washington Street.

Water resources manager Jamey Latchum said the 18-inch terra cotta pipe section had failed and needed to be replaced.

“There are quite a few sinkholes,” he said, adding that neighboring properties are also suffering.

“It affected the owners down there in their driveway,” he said.

Latchum asked the council to authorize a downstream modeling study before issuing a request for proposal for repairs.

Latchum said initial plans included installing a larger 24-inch pipe.

“We have now been advised by EA Engineering that an 18 inch pipe size would suffice,” he said.

Replacement plans also include replacing plastic pipes with existing clay pipes.

“We need to get approval from the Maryland Department of the Environment because it leads to Bottle Branch,” he said. “It’s an old pipe and it’s not uncommon to see breakdowns.

Latchum said the state review would take up to 60 days in total.

“When they come back we find out what they want to see,” he said. “They will tell us at the very least what we need to do. “

Board member Dean Burrell suggested that the 24-inch pipe option should still be considered.

“It could have an impact downstream,” he said.

City administrator Jeff Fleetwood said cost differences for different pipe sizes would be minimal.

Project cost estimates include $ 99,000 for engineering and up to $ 8,000 for modeling studies.

Latchum said regardless of dollar totals, the start of the project would be delayed 6-9 months due to supply chain issues.

“They are waiting for the ships to arrive with supplies to make materials,” he said.

Council members also got a glimpse of the new accent lighting for downtown trees.

Electric utility manager Tim Lawrence said upward accent lighting was ordered at a cost of $ 1,200.

“These are exactly like the ones we had before in the trees,” he said.

Council member Jack Orris asked if the replacements would match the downtown street lights.

Lawrence confirmed that the lighting is identical to the previous lamps.

“It’s called cold lighting and it matches downtown lights,” he said.

Lawrence said work crews were pruning trees in anticipation of the lighting being installed.

“We won’t have to do this again for 3-4 years,” he said.

The new lighting installation is intended to supply power lines from the basement.

“We will try to go around the base of the trees,” he said.

Last week, Lawrence consulted with representatives from EA Engineering to clarify details of the underground work.

“Some of them are going to require a bit of directional boring,” he said.

Armstrong said the estimated price of around $ 4,800 would include underground drilling.

Orris asked if the price estimate includes lights for the trees along West Street.

Fleetwood said the inclusion of West Street would add $ 2,500 to the bottom line.

“We had budgeted $ 110,000 for this at the start of the year and it should fall below that amount,” he said.


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