DPW meeting on Main Street work Tuesday

Project to replace water main saddles kicks off Sept. 17

Shawano’s Department of Public Works will hold a public meeting Tuesday to answer questions about the water main saddle replacement along Main Street that will commence the middle of next month.

The west parking lane of Main Street will be torn open from just south of the channel to the end of the 200 block of South Main Street starting on Sept. 17.

The project is expected to take until Oct. 26.

At issue are the stainless steel saddles holding in place the service connection to the water main that were installed during the Main Street reconstruction project in 2002 and 2003. The project stretched from the channel to the Mountain Bay Trail at Oshkosh Street.

The Shawano Common Council last month approved borrowing up to $180,000 from the Shawano Lake Sanitary District to cover the cost of replacing 71 saddles along Main Street.

The loan will be paid back over a five-year period with an interest rate of 3 percent.

The project is being done by DeGroot Inc.

The intention is to keep Main Street open for traffic during the duration of the project, DPW Coordinator Eddie Sheppard said.

Sheppard said the timing and logistics of the project are still being worked out for the least disruption to downtown business owners and residents.

He said the project would also be worked around the Octoberfest festivities hosted by the Business Improvement District on Oct. 6.

That would mean work in the 100-200 blocks of Main Street would either be completed before then or done after, but those details haven’t been determined yet, Sheppard said.

“We’re not exactly sure how they’re going to phase it yet, but we’ll have an answer for everyone Tuesday,” he said.

Funding for the project will come from the DPW’s water utility fund, though the utility will borrow the money from the State Trust Fund.

Sheppard said there would be no money taken from the general fund that would impact taxpayers.

A corroded saddle was blamed for a water main break outside Dreier Pharmacy at 117 S. Main St. on Jan. 4, the latest in a series of saddle failures over the last several years.

The city has been plagued with failing saddles starting in 2009.

Two water main breaks occurred in the 100 block of North Main Street in February 2009 and December 2010, only about 50 to 75 feet away from one another. Another saddle failed in the 200 block of South Main Street in September 2013.

It was determined that high levels of chloride in the soil were responsible for those saddle failures.

Random soil tests were done in 2015 by Mach IV Engineering, of Green Bay. Out of 20 locations sampled, chloride levels above 500 parts per million were found at three locations. Five others had chloride levels above 300 ppm.

The stainless steel used in the saddles could start to deteriorate at chloride levels over 300 ppm, according to city officials. At levels above 500 ppm, the deterioration is much faster.

Chloride levels in the area of the three previous water main breaks were in the range of 900 ppm, as a result of years of street salt seeping into the soil.

The city hoped it had the problem licked after it hired Grunewald Inc. in September 2015 to replace stainless steel saddles at eight Main Street locations where they were at risk for potential corrosion.

Three of the saddle replacements took place in the 100 block of North Main Street, two in the 100 block of South Main Street, one in the 200 block of North Main, one in the 200 block of South Main and one in the 100 block of West Fourth Street.

One of the saddles replaced was just south of the one that failed on Jan. 4.

The new saddles, which will be brass this time, will be wrapped in heavy plastic, and additional backfill will be added to protect the saddles from the chloride.

The open house meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Community Room at City Hall, 127. S. Sawyer St.