KFC contractor finds backup in city sewer main; problem contained

       A contractor's discovery of a backup in a 15-inch city sewer main at 31st Street and Colorado Avenue led City Utilities crews to perform an immediate flushing of the line last week.
       As a result, no raw sewage escaped containment, and the line is now flowing properly, according to Eric Isaacson of City Utilities. There was no impact on the public - other than a partial closure of the avenue that was already planned through most of the first half of August in conjunction with construction of the new KFC/A&W restaurant on the southwest corner of 31st and Colorado.
       Al Schlosser, general superintendent of MCM Inc., said his workers noticed the sewer problem when they dug across the street to connect the KFC to the city main on the north side of the avenue. So they, stopped their work and called City Utilities.
       According to Isaacson, the wastewater was contained inside a manhole west of 31st and Colorado Avenue. The problem was caused by the liquid “not flowing through the line at the rate it should have,” he said. As a result, City Utilities crews spent about three hours cleaning the line, including the removal of roots and other debris, and pumping out the manhole.
       The line is made of clay and was originally installed in 1929. Part of the backup cause was a brick coming loose from the original brick-constructed manhole, he said.
       The city has a schedule in which it cleans out each of its lines on a regular basis. The backed-up main, which serves “hundreds” of business and residential sewer lines along Colorado Avenue before connecting with the interceptor line to the city wastewater plant near Fountain Creek east of McDonald's, was scheduled for its next servicing in November, Isaacson said.
       Schlosser said it was fortunate MCM was digging there at the time; otherwise, the backed-up wastewater could have overflowed.
       After the city finished its cleanup work, his own subcontractors began digging again on the north side of the avenue, completing the KFC sewer-line connection. After that's done, motorists may get a short break, but in early August MCM will need to shut the street down again, this time to widen the avenue at the southwest corner as part of its development requirement to install a dedicated right-turn lane for eastbound drivers. That work should be done by mid-August, with the last of the store site work completed by the end of the month, Schlosser said.

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