Tuesday, May 23, 2017

E. Franklin Street Sewer Replacement Project

DPU is replacing 850 linear feet of a combined sewer on E. Franklin Street between Ambler Street and N. 19th. A combined sewer collects stormwater and sanitary sewer. The existing sewer was constructed in the 1880's or earlier!

The work will involve replacement of the existing sewer with new PVC pipe, installation of six new manholes, connecting the new sewer to the existing combined sewer system, reinstatement of multiple storm sewer and sanitary sewer laterals to the new combined sewer, and site restoration.

Here's the schedule:

Work Between Ambler St. and N. 17th St. (42” Pipe):
• May 2017 – June 2017
Work Between N. 17th St. and N. 18th St. (36” Pipe):
• July 2017 – August 2017
Work Between N. 18th St. and N. 19th St. (24” Pipe):
• September 2017
Final Restoration Work:
• October 2017

What is the purpose of the project?
The existing combined sewer is over 135 years old and is deteriorating.

How will the combined sewer replacement impact my sewer service?
We anticipate minimal sewer service disruption during construction to the three parcels located along the project corridor. Owners of these parcels will receive a minimum seven-day notice when the disruption will occur and its duration. Replacement of each lateral will be scheduled with each parcel owner for a time -- weekends, nights -- when the impact will be minimal.

Will the combined sewer replacement impact any other utilities?
No. Existing utilities crossing the excavation area will be temporarily supported in order to remain in service until the excavation is backfilled and compacted.

Will this work impact traffic in the area?
The work is primarily in the westbound lane of Franklin between Ambler and N. 19th. Road closures will be required, but will be phased so only a single block of Franklin or an intersection of Franklin and a cross street are closed at any given time. Roads will be reopened at the end of every work day unless there are unforeseen conditions.

Will this work impact on-street parking?
Yes. On-street parking will be restricted on roads closed during construction working hours. On-street parking will be available outside of construction work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., week days. Some isolated tasks may need to be performed after hours or on weekends.

How long will this take?
Five to six months, weather permitting.

Will the project impact the Lumpkin's jail archeological area?
No. In the event that archeological findings are unearthed during excavation, the project will be stopped and the State Department of Historic Resources contacted.

Project manager: Quinton Nottingham, 646-5365
Media contact: Angela Fountain, 646-7323

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Nutrient Pollution - Get a Free Soil Test

From the Environmental Protection Agency:
Nutrient pollution is one of America's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, and is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water.
Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that are natural parts of aquatic ecosystems. Nitrogen is also the most abundant element in the air we breathe. Nitrogen and phosphorus support the growth of algae and aquatic plants, which provide food and habitat for fish, shellfish and smaller organisms that live in water.
But when too much nitrogen and phosphorus enter the environment - usually from a wide range of human activities - the air and water can become polluted. Nutrient pollution has impacted many streams, rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters for the past several decades, resulting in serious environmental and human health issues, and impacting the economy.

Too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Significant increases in algae harm water quality, food resources and habitats, and decrease the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. Large growths of algae are called algal blooms and they can severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water, leading to illnesses in fish and the death of large numbers of fish. Some algal blooms are harmful to humans because they produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that can make people sick if they come into contact with polluted water, consume tainted fish or shellfish, or drink contaminated water.

Nutrient pollution in ground water - which millions of people in the United States use as their drinking water source - can be harmful, even at low levels. Infants are vulnerable to a nitrogen-based compound called nitrates in drinking water. Excess nitrogen in the atmosphere can produce pollutants such as ammonia and ozone, which can impair our ability to breathe, limit visibility and alter plant growth. When excess nitrogen comes back to earth from the atmosphere, it can harm the health of forests, soils and waterways.

Sources of this pollution:
  • Agriculture: Animal manure, excess fertilizer applied to crops and fields, and soil erosion make agriculture one of the largest sources of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the country.
  • Stormwater: When precipitation falls on our cities and towns, it runs across hard surfaces - like rooftops, sidewalks and roads - and carries pollutants, including nitrogen and phosphorus, into local waterways.
  • In and Around the Home: Fertilizers, yard and pet waste, and certain soaps and detergents contain nitrogen and phosphorus, and can contribute to nutrient pollution if not properly used or disposed of. The amount of hard surfaces and type of landscaping can also increase the runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus during wet weather.

What can you do? Pick up after your pets, use commercial car washes and or wash your vehicle on the lawn, not the street or driveway, and don't overfertilize, and then just in the fall.

For a free soil test kit to see how much or how little fertilizer you really need, email gay.stokes@richmondgov.com. Kit includes instructions and a voucher to pay for the test.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Fire Hydrants

Fighting fires is a tough job! No one knows that better than the firefighters at the city of Richmond. In 2016, city of Richmond firefighters put out an estimated 528 fires. This includes structural fires, vehicle and brush fires.

The city’s Department of Public Utilities are critical partners in this effort by maintaining the more than 6,000 fire hydrants owned by the city of Richmond. DPU currently inspects fire hydrants under a manual system on a bi-annual basis. By this summer 2017, DPU’s automated fire hydrant inspection program will be in effect, enabling DPU to inspect each one of the 6,000 fire hydrants every 12 months with the goal of one complete circuit per year.
To ensure adequate fire protection, each city owned fire hydrant is within 500 feet of another. Fire engines arrive at a fire with 500 gallons of water to combat the fire. The fire engines are equipped with hoses to reach hydrants within two blocks of any direction.
Of the 426 house fires reported over the last year within the city, hydrants have never been reported as being an issue or had any material effect on fire suppression efforts.

Residents with concerns about the operability of fire hydrants should call DPU at (804) 646-8600