Issues noted on new Sycamore St.

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Following the N. Sycamore Street Reconstruction Project, two residents impacted by the project presented their cases at the Oct. 5 Monticello City Council meeting.

     Kevin Kurth’s newly installed copper service was found to be leaking. The line was dug up and repaired, and Kurth asked the city for a warranty on the repairs, past the four-year maintenance bond.

     During the replacement process, the service line was bedded in clean rock, which the city has done for years.

     Kurth expressed concerns dealing with his opinion that the line could have been completely replaced, not patched, which he stated shortens the life of the service line. He also feels the line should have been bedded with lime/sand versus rock.

     “A number of service lines on N. Sycamore had leaks,” reported City Administrator Doug Herman. “That’s not expected on a new line.”

     Herman and Public Works Director Nick Kahler and Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jim Tjaden figured there were five or six separate line leaks. Each leak stemmed from a different issue.

     Those leaks that were found and reported were repaired by a subcontractor hired by project contractor Horsfield.

     Tjaden explained that any service line issues are not the responsibility of the city, but the homeowner to take care of. (The city handles issues with the water mains.)

     “N. Sycamore was different because there were a number of problems,” he said.

     “It’s a unique situation because you don’t expect a brand new service line to leak,” added Herman.

     Council member Dave Goedken said he tends to side with Kurth on this particular issue.

     “Clearly there is an issue with the line between the main and shutoff,” Goedken said, “It’s not right. If the problem continues for the next four years, it should be ripped out and replaced, every line.”

     Kurth said if the line is still under warranty, it should be completely replaced rather than pieced together.

     “There should be a whole new line,” he said.

     Furthermore, Kurth said rock does not agree with a copper pipe due to the vibrations.

     “I think I speak for everyone on Sycamore Street,” he said of the ongoing issues.

     “There are definitely more problems than we would like,” noted Mayor Brian Wolken.

     Herman said the city has done quite a few street projects with new service lines. “I don’t remember leaks in service lines within a week of the project,” he noted.

     City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath said he hasn’t seen issues to this extent before.

     “We need to get to the bottom of the causes of each leak and see if there is a common thread,” he offered.

     Wolken said with a few years left of the warranty, the city has some time to explore the cause(s).

     “We don’t know how many more might fail,” warned Herman.

     The council voted to table Kurth’s request for an extended warranty until the issues are explored.

     Goedken added that perhaps the city needs to change its code pertaining to the type of material that is used to backfill service line projects.

     “We always use washed rock with (water and sewer) mains,” offered Tjaden.

     Despite tabling one request, the council did approve Bud Coyle’s request for new sidewalk and drainage improvements in front of his property.

     It appears Horsfield did not install the sidewalk at the correct elevation. Snyder & Associates designed the sidewalk and intake to be installed at a certain elevation. They were ultimately installed too high.

     Goedken stood by his previous convictions and also sided with Coyle on this matter, saying it was designed wrong. Schwickerath took offense and clarified that it was not designed wrong, but installed wrong.

     “Then we need to do it the way it was designed,” urged Goedken. “We’ll see if that works.”

     Coyle said he’s never had standing water in his yard before this project. “It’s up to you guys to take of,” he said.

     The council approved removing and reinstalling the sidewalk and intake, consistent with Snyder & Associates’ design plans.

     “The plans and specs were approved by the city council with the specified design,” Herman informed the council, reminding them of their previous action before the project started.


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