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Batavia digs in on sewer separation project

Work to begin this month on near southwest side

Work will get underway later this month to install new storm water sewers on Batavia's near southwest side, separating rain flows from the sanitary system.
Work will get underway later this month to install new storm water sewers on Batavia's near southwest side, separating rain flows from the sanitary system.

BATAVIA – Work is expected to start later this month on the next leg of a four-year, $3.8 million engineering project to separate the storm water and sanitary sewer systems on the near southwest side of Batavia.

A June 15, 2015 storm produced flooding throughout the city, but especially hard hit was a neighborhood centered on Blaine Street, where storm water and sewage run through the same aging pipes.

The flows overwhelmed the system’s capacity, with the result that residents had raw sewage backing up into their basements.

The Batavia City Council recently approved a construction contract of nearly $2 million for this, the third year of work to install a new storm water system, leaving the existing sewers, which date to the 1920s, to handle only sewage.

This year’s work will start where construction left off last year at the intersection of Morton and South Jefferson streets, according to Assistant City Engineer Andrea Podraza.

New sewer lines will be installed along two blocks of Jefferson from Morton to Walnut streets, along one block of South Jackson Street from Blaine to Walnut, and along more than two blocks of Blaine from Jefferson to a point west of Harrison Street.

In the first phase of the project, performed late in 2017, the city installed 220 linear feet of reinforced concrete pipe, 48-inches wide, running from the west bank of the Fox River to the east edge of the West Side Cemetery.

That “outfall” portion of the system provides the last leg of the journey for storm water before it is discharged into the river.

Last year, the new storm water line was extended west across Route 31 and then along Morton Street to Jefferson Street.

The work to cut across Route 31 between Blaine and Morton streets resulted in lane closures and traffic headaches for motorists.

This year, there will be only local street closures during the construction, with detours posted.

The sewer separation project, which also includes new water mains, is expected to be completed next year, said Batavia Public Works Director Gary Holm.

The new storm water system will serve an area roughly bounded by Walnut Street on the north, Garfield Avenue on the south, Route 31 on the east and Harrison Street on the west, all in the city’s 2nd Ward.

The city also has been engaged in a massive storm water improvement project on the far southeast side of the city in the 1st Ward, where that same 2015 storm caused flooding on streets, sidewalks, yards and in basements.

The city has issued $4.9 million in bonds to cover storm water work, Batavia Finance Director Peggy Colby said.

Aldermen recently approved a low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to help finance the projects.

The loan is for $800,000, Colby said, to be paid back over 20 years with an interest rate of just 1.82 percent.

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