Water-Related News

Bartow street drops about a foot after new sewer line installed

Water infiltration around new 30-inch line at least partially to blame for the problem on Wabash Street

BARTOW — No sooner did construction crews finish replacing a dilapidated sewer line beneath Wabash Street in East Bartow than an area beneath the roadway began to crumble, causing a portion of the road to sink by up to a foot.

Now, the city faces spending as much as $200,000 to correct the problem on the eastern end of the project.

City Manager George Long said the problem is twofold:

  • The fill dirt around the manholes and pipes in the area of Idlewood Drive and Wabash Street wasn’t adequately compacted during the recent wastewater line installation.
  • The backfill material was laden with clay, which creates problems with compaction with the surrounding soil.

But the problem may not be completely the fault of the contractor, Metro Equipment Services in Miami. Despite the problems with the fill dirt, city administrators aren’t certain there isn’t a hidden void beneath the new pipe.

Three residential water lines can be seen above the trench through which the 30-inch sewer line runs across Wabash Street. Bartow city crews are digging down and around the sewer lines to determine the problems. The collapsed section of roadway measured about 70 feet long, 8 feet wide and at least a foot deep.

“There are construction deficiencies, we know that,” Long said, “but we don’t want to blame the contractor for something that wasn’t his fault.” Further testing and excavating will be done to determine whether such a void exists, he said, and whether it contributed to the collapse of the roadway.