Basement flooding is target of new sewer line

By Jason Hawk -

A new 48-inch storm sewer and four million gallon retention pond are planned this year in hopes of finally killing off basement flooding problems in central Amherst.

If city council agrees to the project, the interceptor line will be built this summer along Lincoln Street and Sipple Avenue, replacing the undersized infrastructure currently under the pavement.

It’s “probably the project the city needs most,” mayor Mark Costilow told city council.

“It’s been in the works for a long time. There have been a lot of issues in that area,” he said. “We do a lot proactively when it storms to keep things as best as possible. Getting this project done will improve that area significantly.”

Aaron Appell of Bramhall Engineering views the effort as a continuation of the Mill Street storm sewer that was built in 2012.

It helped stop frequent flooding at about 100 Amherst homes by routing heavy runoff away from the downtown area and into Beaver Creek.

The Lincoln-Sipple sewer would bring a lot of new capacity to the area and reduce a great deal of stress on the sewer system, Appell said.

Work would begin with the creation of a huge retention basin at the Beaver Creek Reservation Metro Park.

“The residents in the area, they’re part of the solution as well,” Appell said. “We’re going to be reaching out to them. As you may be aware, (there are) a lot of older homes, they get cross-connected. So their storm sewers wind up going into the sanitary sewer system.”

Notifications would be sent to those residents and the city will work with them to do away with laterals.

Work is expected to begin on the basin in May and on the sewer line in July, with the entire project wrapping up by November.

Since the streets will be torn up to lay the sewer line, affected sections will get curb replacements, full-depth repairs, milling, and resurfacing as needed.

Two city council members — Joe Miller and Brian Dembinski — said the Lincoln-Sipple area is in need of sidewalks and bike paths and they think the project is ripe for pedestrian-friendly additions. Whether those are added to the scope remains to be seen.

Ohio Public Works Commission funds, available at the start of the fiscal year in July, will cover $500,000 of the cost. Local taxpayers will pick up the other $2.5 million portion of the price tag.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk