Marshall City Council revisits cracked pipes

MARSHALL – Members of the Marshall City Council revisited the issue of damaged storm sewer pipes during a special council meeting on Tuesday. Council members discussed what action the city should take on the pipes, which were installed on North 7th Street this summer and later found to have hairline cracks in places.

The storm sewer was one of several items, including continued discussion of the 2014 budget process, on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting. At their regular meeting Aug. 27, council members had tabled discussion of the damaged pipes until they could learn more about whether they should be replaced.

Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson showed council members video footage from the pipeline’s inspection, showing the cracks. Olson said there could be a few different reasons for the cracks forming, from improperly cured concrete to damage while the pipe segments were being put in place. In places, Olson pointed out, the cracks had sealed themselves shut through calcification, as groundwater seeped into the concrete pipe.

Olson said he wasn’t sure if replacing the cracked pipes would be a worthwhile option for the city. Olson said the cracks weren’t really big enough to keep the pipeline functioning for its intended lifespan of 30 years or more. Digging up and replacing the damaged sections would cause more time and expense for city construction on North 7th Street, he said. It could also create more damage along the storm sewer line.

City staff had recommended the council approve payment for the North 7th Street project, minus the cost of the damaged pipe segments. That option would mean a cost reduction of about $2,400 for the city.

Council member Glenn Bayerkohler asked why, if the installed pipeline met standards, the city was asking for a price reduction.

“We believe that we are damaged, a little bit,” Olson said.

After more discussion, council members decided the city should try to negotiate for a larger cost reduction. The council approved a motion to offer to split the cost of the pipeline 50-50 with the contractor.