published Friday, March 25th, 2011

Kimball officials weigh sewer work risks, benefits

By Ryan Lewis

KIMBALL, Tenn.—As city administrators begin the bidding process to repair a large section of damaged sewer line, Mayor David Jackson is hoping for the best.

Jackson’s experiences over the years with sewer problems, however, have taught him to expect the worst.

Recently, Kimball officials revealed that more than 1,300 feet of sewer line was in serious need of replacement or repair, but one section that crosses Tennessee Highway 2 represents a difficulty and expense that the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen are not ready to deal with yet.

“I think we need to leave the crossing out right now,” Jackson said. “The way it’s been going with us as far as sewer problems it’ll probably collapse, but we’ll just have to take that risk.”

The Highway 2 crossing runs between the former Eyear 1 Hour Optical building and the Holiday Inn Express.

The cost of the project will be about $100,000 even without addressing the section that crosses the highway, officials estimate.

Anthony Pelham, a civil engineer with James C. Hailey & Co. in Nashville, said the section crossing the highway is sagging, but not cracked or leaking as most of the rest of the line is.

“In some things there’s good, better and best,” he said. “There’s not necessarily right and wrong. The state wouldn’t give [Kimball] permission right now to fix the sag, but if the line failed, they would most likely allow a cut in the road to patch it.”

Pelham said a sag in the sewer line is a common occurrence, and he is reluctant to advise the town to replace the section under the highway because the work would be difficult and costly.

“I’m leery of the value you get for the expense,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of poking skunks if I don’t have to.”

Officials said the work on the highway crossing will be included as an alternate option in the overall bidding for the project, but right now they have no intention of doing the job.

“It would give us some idea of what we’re looking at with repair costs down the road if something does happen,” Jackson said.

Pelham said that, when it comes to sewer problems, Kimball is far more proactive than most of the clients he sees.

“Most of them do nothing until they start getting notices of violations [from the state], citations or threats of fines or penalties,” he said. “Most of them just sit there and let it go.”

Jackson said the bids on the project will be opened April 21 in Kimball City Hall. A special called meeting of the board will follow at 6 p.m. to discuss the bids.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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