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DECATUR — City officials on Monday said they expect work to clean and repair the McKinley Avenue sewer, one of Decatur's five major sewer mains, to be completed by next summer after the project goes out to bid in July. 

Council members voted 7-0 to enter a $490,383 agreement for consulting firm Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, to provide construction engineering services for the McKinley sewer project. Public works Director Matt Newell said this project is the last part of the city's efforts to rehab four of its critical sewage lines. 

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Work for the other major sewer mains targeted in the long-term project — the Lake Shore Drive sewer, the Union Street sewer and the 7th Ward sewer — was completed in 2014, 2015 and 2018, respectively. 

"If any of them failed ... it could shut down a large section of the city (and) cause harm to major hospitals or major employers," Newell said. "That's why we try to keep them in good condition."

According to a memo provided to city council members, the McKinley Avenue sewer was originally constructed in 1930 and varies in size from 27 inches to 72 inches. It begins near the intersection of North Jasper Street and East Garfield Avenue, and drains to an overflow facility near the northwest corner of North Monroe Street and West McKinley Avenue.

Newell said many of the city's sewers around eight to 10 inches in size, and because the major sewer mains are so large, it provides challenges for crew members to clean them with traditional equipment. It's why the larger sewer mains need to be put out to bid for contractors to work on, he said. 

"The contractor supplies the equipment, and we tell them how we want the repair made," Newell said, adding that consulting firm Chastain & Associates was tapped to handle the design aspects of the McKinley sewer project. 

The fifth critical sanitary sewer main in Decatur is the Broadway sewer, which runs under a stretch of what is now North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Councilman David Horn asked Newell during the meeting if the Broadway sewer was in good shape, and the public works director said it was last rehabilitated in the mid-1990s. Newell said the city will revisit the sewer in about five years "to see how it's holding up" since then. 

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency approved Decatur's critical sewers rehabilitation facilities plan on Feb. 4, 2013.

Funding for the McKinley sewer project will be covered by a $7.9 million loan from the Illinois Water Pollution Control Loan Program. The loan will also cover the cost of the construction engineering services approved Monday, and will be repaid by the city over a 20-year period once the project is completed. 

In other business Monday, the council voted 7-0 to approve a $601,430 bid from Entler Excavating Co. for miscellaneous improvements to storm and sanitary sewers owned by the city. The improvements will be funded with monies from the city's sanitary sewer and storm water sewer funds. 

Some of the improvement work includes sealing cracks in the sewers, connecting existing pipes and manhole lid adjustments. The city expects Entler to begin work this month and finish the projects by next June.

The council also voted 7-0 to enter an agreement with Cummins Crosspoint to rebuild the engines of two Decatur Public Transit System buses for an amount that doesn't exceed $55,216. The city said repair costs will be paid with federal and state funding.

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Contact Jaylyn Cook at (217) 421-7980. Follow him on Twitter: @jaylyn_HR


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