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Sewer line work to be lengthy and messy

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The City of Hobbs is about to tear up a busy part of Hobbs.

It’s necessary. It’s needed and it’s going to be messy for a while.

During its July 6 meeting, the Hobbs City Commission unamimously approved a contract with Smith Engineering, of Albuquerque for the phase design of the Trunk F Sewer replacement in the amount of $155,375, to begin this fall.

This is the design that will replace the sewer line along Central Avenue from Copper Street to Joe Harvey Boulevard, through the heart of one of the city’s major residential areas. It is the first of two parts of the final phase and scheduled to take around eight months. In 2017, the line was replaced along Central from the Lovington Highway to Copper due to a pipe collapse.

“This will be a difficult project,” Hobbs Utilities Director Tim Woomer said to the commission. “(The project) will be straight down the middle of Central disrupting quite a bit of residential areas. The planning phase took that into account to try to accomodate for that. (The project) is ready to go out to bid. We are just trying to arrange some of our funding opportunities with the state and federal monies that may be available.”

Woomer said once the funding is set for the Central Avenue phase, the construction portion of the project will be brought forth to the commission for its vote.

The second part of the final phase is scheduled to take place in 2022. It involves replacing the sewer line from the Joe Harvey and Central intersection, east to Grimes and then north along Grimes to Millen Drive. Woomer said the planning of this phase of the project has not started, so he does not have a time-frame on how long the project will take.

The Trunk Line F Sewer replacement started eight years ago at the city’s wastewater treatment plant in southeast Hobbs, then went west along Temple Street, then north along the right of way access next to the railroad tracks to and across the Lovington Highway and then northwest to Central Avenue.

“This is the final part of an eight-year struggle to replace this dilapidated concrete pipe,” Woomer said. “It will be the last of the concrete pipe that we have in our system. What will remain is clay tile pipe and PVC.”

During his presentation Woomer showed a photo of one of the replaced sewer lines and the pipe’s wall was less than a 1/2 inch thick. He said the pipe wall should be 3 inches thick. District 5 Commissioner Dwayne Penick was told sewer gases had deteriorated through the top of the pipe in some places, which led to a line collapse.

“One of (the replacements) did occur at the intersection of Central and Lovington Highway,” Woomer said. “We had a total failure of that pipe and it collapsed and the road collapsed as well. So that was one of the first things we did as well as several collapses in the line along the railroad that prompted us to realize and inspect and know that this pipe is failing.”

And it’s failing nationwide Woomer said. During its time, which was in the early 1980s, this type of concrete sewer pipe was the only option of large diameter pipe available before PVC.

“It lasted 40 years,” Woomer said.

District 5 Commissioner Dwaye Penick commented how the entire final phase of the project was taking place through the middle of his district.

“My phone is going to be ringing off the hook,” Penick said.

District 4 Commissioner Joe Calderon sympathized. He commented how his phone continued to ring while construction took place along Temple. Woomer said the best part of the replacement project was working along the railroad because there were no residential areas affected.

“(The Temple Street phase of the project) was interesting because we learned a lot,” Woomer said. “So we are going to apply what we learned to this next phase on Central and in the planning phase for Joe Harvey and Grimes.”

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