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Leechburg may put sanitary sewer lines under sidewalks

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 1:41 a.m.

Leechburg officials are looking to spare borough streets from damage in an upcoming sewage separation project.

To do that, council is talking about having new sanitary sewer lines installed under sidewalks.

Preliminary work on a project to separate the remainder of Leechburg's combined sewage system is ongoing. Work to date has included mapping, inspections and survey work of the existing system and other utility lines.

The borough will apply for permits for the work by the end of the year, and in spring 2014 begin seeking money to pay for it, said Ben Bothell of Senate Engineering.

The system serving about 40 percent of the borough has already been separated.

Council President Tony Defilippi said some of the borough's streets are already in bad shape, and the sewage project would only make them worse.

Likewise, there are streets in good condition that the borough does not want to tear up, Bothell said.

A problem with putting the sanitary lines under sidewalks would be that it would require removing a lot of trees, said Jay Quade, a senior inspector with Senate Engineering. Utility poles could also be an issue.

Quade said sewage lines could not be placed under sidewalks in all areas, and there would still be places where lines would have to cut across streets.

“We would have to look at each block independently,” Quade said. “There are a number where we could do it without much trouble.”

Replacing sidewalks would likely by covered by the project, he said.

Mayor Tony Roppolo said he would want to see good specifications for replacing sidewalks to be sure it's done right. Fixes to sidewalks during the prior project were “deplorable,” he said.

“I think a bunch of fourth-graders could've done a better job,” he said. “We learned good lessons the first time around what not to do.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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