New Castle County Council has approved $8 million in bonds that may help cover repairs on the largest sewer main in the county.
The $8 million low-interest loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund that council approved this week will act as contingency money as the County repairs the Christina River Force Main.
Last year, County staff discovered a chunk of concrete had broken off the lining of the main, which pumps sewage from the majority of customers above the C & D canal to the treatment facility in Wilmington.
County operations engineer Jason Zern says preliminary construction has begun for what he calls ‘emergency’ repairs.
“I say emergency not meaning that there’s a great ... issue, at least not that we believe at this point. But it is something that we cannot just wait and try to fix. We felt that it was needed to initiate a project immediately,” said Zern.
He says the chip was discovered last year, but the damage could have occurred anytime since the main was installed more than four decades ago.
The most expensive part of the repair will be building a bypass around the stretch of pipe with the chip. The entire repair was estimated to cost around $10 million, which officials say the county has already secured.
The beginning stages of construction for the repair are underway. Zern says the $8 million approved this week will serve as an accessible line of credit if unexpected costs arise during construction.
Officials say the County is also in the early planning stages of a project to build redundancy for the Christina River Force Main.
The Main serves the majority of customers north of the C & D Canal, and there is currently no back-up.