Crews were seen repairing a corroded sewage pipe and keep raw sewage from seeping into homes in south Bismarck.
The city’s utility operations director, Keith Demke, said the workers were not successful in stopping the leak Wednesday night, and he said more work is required.
“We are asking residents in the affected area to continue to reduce the flows to the sewer system until further notice,” Demke said.
South Bismarck residents have been asked to limit showers, baths, laundry and other water use since Tuesday evening. To further ease pressure on the sewer system, some of the sewage is being moved through the South Washington lift station. Those affected are residents and businesses south of Bismarck Expressway from Washington Street to Airport Road.
The threat of sewage seeping into basements forced city crews to divert the mess from the normal sewer main into a storm water drainage ditch that flows directly into the Missouri River. The drainage ditch is south of Wachter Avenue and north of a bridge near a walking path.
“If we don’t do this, it’s going to back up into people’s homes and basements,” Demke said.
For the short-term repairs, Demke doesn’t believe the sewage diversion poses a health risk to people “unless they are in direct contact with it.” He said much of the drainage ditch’s mile-plus path is not accessible west of Tatley Meadows.
The leak was caused by a corrosion hole in the iron pipe carrying the waste material. Demke said the 24-inch pipe is the second largest sewer drainage system serving the city, about one-third of the city’s solid waste intake.
“It’s going a little slower than we thought,” Demke said Wednesday night. “They’re patching a new pipe together, bolting it, refilling it and then they’ve got to get the air out of the pipe.”