Downtown smells

By:  Diane Benjamin

Last week I received this email from a patron of a downtown Bloomington business:

When I drove down Main Street today, I noticed that several businesses had their doors wide open.  I made a comment to an employee at the locale where I was conducting my business about the nice weather outside.  I was told the door wasn’t propped open because of the nice weather…..
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Apparently the city of Bloomington did some work to the pipes and sewers on Main St. in downtown Bloomington recently (last few days).
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Some kind of epoxy was applied.  The work was done at night a few days ago to minimize the business impact.
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Turns out the smell was overwhelming, even days later.
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The story is that the initial response by the city to smell complaints was dismissive.  However, workers later returned to put additional material into the pipes to help with the odor.
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Even so, several businesses have been unable to open  (as of Wednesday afternoon) because of the continuing epoxy smell.
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The episode clearly does not send a business friendly message to the numerous small business owners in downtown:  Local critical infrastructure such as roads and sewers (which taxpayers recognize as essential) is clearly troubled, yet the policy priority seems to be soccer fields and ice arenas (that should be financed with private money).  Totally misguided.
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Again, I personally know that Coffee Hound, Ivy Lane Bakery, Garcia’s, and Indigo Salon in downtown Bloomington were impacted by epoxy smell.  There are probably more, though you’ll  need additional due diligence and/or other sources to round out the complete story.
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Since Jim Karch is the guy at the city of Bloomington who would know what’s going on, I emailed him.  Here’s his response:
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It is sewer lining with sewers instead of digging up the pipes.  Attached is some information about it.  The times when people have trouble is when there are issues with their private sewer laterals or internal plumbing.  If pipe traps have water and the sewer lateral is properly vented then no significant smell gets into the building.  Unfortunately in downtown Bloomington there are a lot of older sewers both public and private.
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 This is the document he attached:  Sewer Lining
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Hoerr Construction is doing the work.  Lining is much cheaper than digging up and replacing the sewers.
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This is another document Jim sent me, it has lots more information and interesting pictures:  sewer presentation
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I also talked to another person who works downtown.  Her employer closed off one building because of the smell.
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I believe Jim Karch is on vacation this week, but still checking emails.  His responses to me were mostly after 7:00pm last week.
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Obviously infrastructure downtown is a mess.  Redevelopment will be very expensive, taxpayers of course will get the bill.

 

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Comments

  1. court jester says:

    Interesting. As the liner is inserted into the existing sewer pipes, the lining itself takes up some room and therefore REDUCES the capacity of 100 year old piping for a city of whose mayor says is growing in population.

    Like

    • That crossed my mind too!

      Like

    • sticky bean says:

      It’s more kicking the can down the road, a band-aid fix reducing capacity. Soccer complex, hotels, bike lanes, blah, blah, blah, reportedly to bring more people into the city need more capacity not reduced. The mayor and the council are complete idiots.

      Like

      • reginalibrarian3 says:

        The technology is called Insituform and has been around for years. The technology has been used widely since the 1970’s cured-in-place pipe aren’t new and isn’t “kicking the can down the road”. I bet anything if Bloomington had to dig up all its pipes and put in new sewer pipes you be bitching about the cost and the disruption AND the smell. Diane don’t you do any “research”? You claim to be a “journalist” but do no actual checking about “facts” of what you are writing. Also, it doesn’t affect the capacity of the pipes.

        Like

      • I only allowed your post for the giggles.

        Jim Karch must not be research, he’s only in charge of public works.

        Please explain the science in adding a liner without decreasing capacity!

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      • reginalibrarian3 says:

        Again, Diane posting a link does NOT equal research. Did you ask City Civil Engineer why they used Insituform? Bet you didn’t. If the city of Bloomington decided to dig up sewer lines, you’d be on you web site moaning and bitching about the cost and the inconvenience of torn up roads when you drove into town. You website is a big bitch and moan site for unhappy people like you who hate government and believe it should go away. You apparently have nothing better to do with your time then issue FOIA request so you can bitch and moan about everything that isn’t you way. You’re a glorified bean counter with a WordPress account.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are back to being permanently banned. Are don’t read the articles and therefore are unfit to have a discussion about any of them.

        Like

      • Seriously!?! says:

        Regina probably read the article. The sewer liner doesn’t effect the flow capacity. A cursory search of Google would confirm this. If anything it improves it because the pipes were leaking and cracking anyhow. Just like many things, if it’s installed correctly, you will see better performance. The pressure was probably already degraded. It stinks that the oder caused a bunch of issues. But what is the alternative? If the previous owners of your house did not take care of the pipes you wouldn’t sit there and complain without doing something.

        So instead of researching, you automatically assume the sewer capacity is lower now and when Regina refutes it you get all hot and bothered and “ban” someone. But is guess the Earth is flat right?

        Like

      • Common sense says capacity is Lower, maybe not a lot but obviously down.

        Regina has been saying stupid stuff for years. She crossed a line with 5 times in one day.

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  2. court jester says:

    Perhaps a sewer will cave in under a bike lane and swallow up the Bike-Blo-No-Nazi.

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  3. Larry Widdell says:

    I believe it was a Marie that dealt the deadly smell

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  4. Too bad they are busy working on BIKE LANES rather then actually FIXING the sewer lines. Shows WHERE Mr Hales and Renner have their bread buttered. I see it DID NOT affect Rosies or any of the other Renner/Hales hangouts. Too bad.
    Maybe they can use this epoxy for OTHER infrastructure needs also, such as parking garages, streets, bridges, arena, ad naseum.

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  5. old stanky says:

    The (relatively) new Hales regime doesn’t know how to fix anything. We were better off with Tom Hamilton. At least he didn’t run off ALL of the department heads.

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  6. The city did the same sewer lining in our neighborhood a couple months ago. The liner is really thin. I don’t remember exactly what it looked like, but I don’t think is was any more than a half inch. That is neglible when talking about an 8 or 10 inch sewer pipe. My guess is that the sewers will actually work better since the pipes are clear of obstructions. To me it’s just government taking care of basics with some preventative maintenance. No matter what happens in downtown, the sewers have to keep working.

    The bigger issue is whether or not the current sewers are big enough to handle all the people Renner thinks are going to move to downtown.

    Like

    • court jester says:

      Reducing a 10 inch pipe by half an inch is still a 5% reduction. Reduce your pay scale by 5% and tell us if you still consider that number neglible.

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      • Seriously!?! says:

        How is a reduced paycheck even a valid analogy? When your coronary artery has too much plaque you have a stent placed there to improve blood flow. Are you going to tell the doctor not to do it because it will decrease your arterial capacity? The slight decrease in diameter is a good tradeoff for being alive.

        Like

      • Re-read your comment. Try again using common sense next time.

        Keep re-reading until you figure it out.

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  7. The capacity and condition of the puppies are irrelevant! The problem is the odors backed up. The puppies are not up to code. This means sewer gases ate also backing up. Why are they wasting money fixing a pipe that isn’t up to code in the first place?

    Like

  8. Here’s my perspective on that- I have studied the pipe-lining technology and seen that it is a highly effective way to repair/upgrade old sewers at a fraction of the cost of replacement. Especially in the case of the Downtown area, if they have to put up with a temporary smell to save money, so be it, especially with the disproportionate amount of money the city is spending on that area already! Lane *So happy to hear how well your husband is doing. What a blessing!

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Being banned doesn’t stop her from reading or commenting, I delete most of her nonsense.  But two days ago must have been a slow day at the library.  Regina was commenting all day and upset I wouldn’t post her comments.  I did approve two – see this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/05/15/downtown-smells/ […]

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