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City awards $4.59 million contract for sewer and stormwater repairs

Charlottesville has awarded a $4.59 million contract to help with citywide repairs of sewer and stormwater systems.

The city awarded the contract Monday to Chesapeake-based Tri-State Utilities LLC, which submitted the lowest of three bids at the end of September.

The contract is four a one-year term with options to renew four times.

The city will work with the contractor to repair and rehabilitate sanitary sewers, manholes, defective storm sewers and catch basins.

The contract focuses on issues with rainwater and groundwater infiltrating the sewer system and structural defects in the sewer and stormwater systems causing ongoing maintenance issues.

Utilities Director Lauren Hildebrand said over the past decade, the city has spent nearly $30 million for rehabilitation of the city’s sewer and stormwater systems.

In that timeframe, 26.9% of the sewer system and 16.8% of the city-owned stormwater system has been rehabilitated or replaced.

Utilities Engineering Manager Jason McIlwee said the sewer system is more than 100 years old, depending on the area in the city. The pipes downtown were built around the 1900s and 1910s and usually have a 50-year lifespan.

“With a system as old as the city of Charlottesville system is, there will always be something to fix,” Hildebrand said. “You’re never going to get to the perfect scenario because it was put in over time.”

Hildebrand said ongoing rehabilitation didn’t start until about 13 years ago and the system went ignored for a long time.

“We’re really playing catch-up,” she said.

The contract covers more than 480 items, but could expand if more is discovered when the contractor is surveying the pipes.

The main concern is stormwater getting into the sewer system. Hildebrand said excess water continues along to the water treatment plant and the city has to pay for the extra volume of water that doesn’t need the same treatment.

Hildebrand said water will always infiltrate the system, but it is a level where officials know there are problems with the system.

The city is using a contractor because it simply doesn’t have the manpower to do the work.

“We would need to have a lot more people if we did it in-house,” Hildebrand said.

McIlwee said the contractor will start working around the end of November or beginning of December.


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