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The City of West Hollywood is currently completing a major rehabilitation of its aging sewer pipes in the neighborhoods north and south of Santa Monica Boulevard, east of Hayworth Avenue to La Brea Avenue. Using Sewer Assessment Funds and federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, the city is repairing approximately five miles of sewer lines. The project should be completed in July.
The city is not replacing the sewer pipes, but rehabilitating them. Sections of sewer line will be repaired using a pipelining process that should cause minimal disturbance to the street above. A tight fitting liner is pulled through the sewer pipe from the manholes on each end of the pipe. Using steam, the liner is inflated, causing hardening and adhesion to the existing pipe, filling any cracks. The end result is equivalent to a new pipe.
“It’s a rehabilitation process that we’ve done in other locations,” said Donn Uyeno, senior civil engineer with the City of West Hollywood. “It’s a pretty common technique, and it’s very cost effective.”
The cost for the repair is approximately $2.1 million. Uyeno said the cost would have been at least double had the city replaced the pipes.
According to Uyeno, what the City of West Hollywood is doing is a “trenchless process.” He also said the City of Los Angeles dug trenches north of Fountain Avenue when it replaced sewer pipes, which took longer and was “pretty disruptive” to the flow of traffic.
During the construction there will be instances where sewer service will be temporarily cut off. To prevent sewer back up, some residents and businesses will be notified and asked to temporarily refrain from using all water. In some cases, water service will be shut off for a short period of time to prevent damage to the newly installed pipe and to prevent a major sewer back up.
“Homes may be without water for up to four hours, usually midday,” Uyeno said. “To mitigate any impact, work will be done at night so as not to disrupt certain businesses.”
Uyeno noted that most of West Hollywood’s pipes were installed in 1929 and that it is “amazing they have lasted this long.” To minimize costs, the project is being done on an “as needed basis.” Sewer workers use a remote controlled camera and watch video footage of the sewer lines to gauge their conditions, looking for cracks and damage, before starting any work.
Two years ago, the city successfully completed a similar project for deteriorated sewer lines in the northwest area of the city. The current project will use all of West Hollywood’s allotted funds, and officials say it may be another two years before they can get to other sections of the city’s sewers.
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