The Northlake Industrial Corridor which runs along the Tri-State Tollway is served by a sanitary sewer which was built during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  This sanitary sewer runs behind the properties along the west side of the railroad tracks.  The sewer line goes under the tracks and then proceeds under one of the buildings owned by Scholle Packaging and then runs south on Railroad Avenue to North Avenue where it connects to the main sewer line owned and operated by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. This sewer line is made of clay tile, the same material used by the Romans over 3,000 years ago and is as much as 25 feet deep.

Recently, the line suffered 2 collapses on the west side of the railroad tracks. Fortunately, the sewer line is relatively shallow at these locations and was readily accessible. However, the repairs to the sewer line cost $20,371.75.

The City determined it was best if preemptive action was taken to assess the condition of the rest of the sewer line, especially those portions under the railroad tracks and under the Scholle building. The first step was to televise the line, but in order to do this, the line had to be cleaned in conjunction with the televising. The line was successfully cleaned and televised, which took 63.25 hours at a cost of $54,027.65.

The televising revealed that the line was in serviceable condition considering its age. However, as another preemptive maintenance procedure, the sewer line will receive a lining in the locations under the railroad tracks and Scholle building, a distance of  700 feet.

The lining process involves inserting a collapsed liner made of fibre glass type material which is then inflated using hot water. The material then hardens and becomes stronger than the original pipe. When the process is completed it will have the same effect as the installation of a new sewer line.

Getting ahead of this situation is better than waiting for a sewer collapse and then trying to do emergency repairs under railroad tracks and buildings at depths of 25 feet.

In addition, water main replacement is underway on Bernice and the 300 block of LaPorte and will soon be underway on the first 2 blocks of Belle Drive. Various point repairs to the sanitary sewer on these streets is also taking place. These streets will all be resurfaced when the utility work is completed. Repairs are also underway to the sanitary sewer and storm sewer on Whitehall and this street will also be resurfaced later this summer under a program administered by the North Central Council of Mayors which will provide 80% of the cost of the resurfacing work.

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