The city of East Wenatchee is making arrangements to pay for emergency repairs to a stormwater line in the 1100 block of North Baker Avenue. 

Public Works Manager Garren Melton told city councilors at their last meeting that they quickly investigated after noticing significant sinking of the road surface in September of 2023 and found the stormwater line to be in extremely poor condition. 

"It's an old steel line," said Melton. "And steel corrodes and becomes very brittle. You could break off a piece of it just by tapping it with your foot. So, we made the decision of, let's get all this out from underneath the road and make sure we're not going to be in a position where a void is going to form in three or four years." 

The city paid local construction company KRCI to remove the old pipe and channel stormwater into an adjacent line. 

A total of 600ft of the damaged pipe was sectioned off and extracted. Its erosion had been made worse by a constant flow of a natural spring directly into the line. 

Melton said it’s not known why there was another stormwater line running under Baker Avenue, but its presence proved to be helpful. The connection pipe to the adjacent line is made of corrugated plastic pipe, which lasts much longer than steel. The adjacent water line now being used is made of steel, but is still in good shape according to Melton 

He said they set up two new manholes, one where the water needed to be diverted in front of the failed pipe and another one where the connection into the adjacent line occurs. 

He says they’re now inspecting all underground pipes in the city to avoid any further failures. 

“We’re making more time with the maintenance crew to go out,” Melton said. “This week we’re actually getting confined space certified so that we’re able to go down into the manholes and really get a good look at what our infrastructure looks like. And make sure that we’re doing the preventative maintenance to avoid bigger repairs like this.”  

He said they’re using a push camera, a device commonly used to inspect pipes from the interior, to take a look at the first 100 feet of pipe from various manholes in the city. 

The city received a low interest loan from the state Public Works Board to pay for the repairs, including grant funding. 

From the Public Works Board, the city received a grant of $26,250 and a loan of $148,750. The loan, carrying a 1.38% interest rate, is structured to be repayable over a 20-year period.  

The arrangement more than covers the final cost from KRCI, which came in under budget at $141,472.61.   

The East Wenatchee City Council approved the loan arrangement at their last meeting.

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