City Deals with Waterline Break on Recently Completed Infrastructure Project

Less than two years after Rhinelander, Wisconsin’s overhaul of its downtown water and sewer infrastructure, the city had to dig up a portion of it to fix a broken waterline

City Deals with Waterline Break on Recently Completed Infrastructure Project

(Photo by Star Journal)

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In August 2016, the city of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, was profiled in Municipal Sewer & Water magazine as it undertook a $9.8 million initiative many municipalities across the country have already completed or eventually will take on — separating storm and sanitary sewer infrastructure.

Alongside the long-needed underground work — both water and sewer infrastructure in the city’s downtown corridors — Rhinelander officials also took the opportunity to make significant above-ground improvements, revamping the city’s downtown to make it more pedestrian friendly with wider sidewalks, new tree plantings, and other streetscape aesthetic features.

Less than two years later, though, the city has had to take an unwanted step — prematurely disrupting some of that new street surface. This week a break in a 2-inch service line connected to one of the new water mains was noticed when water bubbled through to the surface and the pavement started to buckle.

“This we didn’t expect because it was new construction,” Public Works Director Tim Kingman told local media.

He says during the construction water pipes were buried 6 feet deep and doesn’t believe that recent cold temperatures played a factor in the break. “Everything was tested properly. We took all the right precautions.”

“It did a lot of damage for such a small break. It’s a little smaller than your pinkie,” says Tom Roeser, water utility foreman.

The city hasn’t yet pinpointed what might have caused the break. A temporary fix was completed on Wednesday, but more extensive repairs will be done in the summer.

Sources: WJFW Channel 12; Star Journal; Northwoods River News


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