Savannah to Replace 19th Century Brick Pipelines

Aging brick stormwater pipelines are creating headaches in Georgia's oldest city.
Savannah to Replace 19th Century Brick Pipelines
City of Savannah

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The City of Savannah, Georgia, plans to spend about $500,000 for a new drainage line to replace the aging 19th century stormwater pipelines after one of the brick pipes collapsed about four months ago.

The 8 miles of brick pipelines, built after the Civil War, used to be connected to the city’s sewer system. In an ongoing program, the city locates any connections that still need to be separated from the sewer system.

Water within the old lines creating expansion — combined with the pressure exerted from the outside of the lines — can cause the pipes’ bricks to loosen, leading to collapses.

“Once those start falling out, it’s like a house of cards,” John Sawyer, public works and water resources bureau chief, told the Savannah Morning News. “It doesn’t support its own weight anymore.”

The city plans to abandon the brick line and will reroute the drain outlet from the Savannah River to the Springfield Canal.

“There is a lot to be said for historic preservation,” says Sawyer. “But when it comes to transferring stormwater, we prefer that it actually works.”

The expense to build the new line is being covered using funds from the capital reserve fund for unbudgeted expenses, says Melissa Carter, Savannah’s research and budget director.

Source: Savannah Morning News


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