Aging sewer pipes to be replaced soon

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COLUMBIA - City Council voted Monday evening to approve a seven hundred thousand dollar storm drain replacement plan. 

The storm drains below Garth Avenue were built in the 1930's on top of Flat Branch Creek. The creek, which flows below many of Columbia's roads has been "undergrounded" or systematically built on top of over time.

Phil Steinhaus, CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority said these pipes are in dire need of repair. 

"Part of the culvert near Oak Towers has already collapsed," Steinhaus said. "These pipes run all along the creek, we need to get in there and fix them before even more damage occurs." 

Oak Towers Affordable Senior Living Center is located feet away from the collapsed pipes. Construction will begin in the summer of 2019, Steinhaus expects this project will take most of the summer to complete.

"It will create some traffic concerns and will move the current bus stop," he said. "It's a small price to pay to prevent further problems like flooding and collapses."

Newly re-elected city councilman Michael Trapp said he is excited that this portion of town is receiving attention.

"I have seen this road flood almost every time it rains," Trapp said. "No doubt this drainage system needs help."

The replacement plan was included on the 2015v ballot measure which was approved to increase the storm water utility rates.