The Great Lakes region is blessed with abundant fresh water for its rivers and lakes. Water, both as a resource and a method of transportation, was a vital factor in Akron, Ohio, blossoming into one of America’s early manufacturing hubs during the late 1800s and early 1900s. As a result of the city’s leading position in tire manufacturing, it became known as “Rubber City.”
Like many cities of that era, Akron during its period of growth built combined sewers that carried both storm drainage and sanitary sewage. This mix ultimately emptied into the Cuyahoga River, the Little Cuyahoga River, the Ohio & Erie Canal and eventually into Lake Erie. As a result of the pollution, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued a federal mandate for the City of Akron to comply with the Clean Water Act and end pollution in local waterways.
As part of the solution, Akron created a program termed “Akron Waterways Renewed!” to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improve water quality in nearby rivers. A portion of that plan was to create a 6,240-ft Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT); three new storage basins; upgrade CSO racks; and upsize and reinforce the main outfall sewer cap. The 27-ft diameter OCIT sections were a feat in themselves, dug with a massive tunnel boring machine and constructed of reinforced concrete (RCP). The basins will hold combined sanitary and storm water overflow until it can be safely released to Akron’s wastewater treatment facility.
Of particular interest is the design and construction of the influent line to the new Howard Storage Basin (CSO Rack 22) at the intersection of Howard and Cuyahoga Streets, which will provide temporary storage of combined sewer flow from the North Hill tributary area. With a 2.4 million gallon capacity, It is the largest of the three new storage basins.
HM Miller Construction was subcontracted for the site work for the Howard Storage Basin (CSO Rack 22), one of Akron’s 34 sewer separation units, as well as relocating the existing waterline to accommodate influent piping. The HM Miller engineering staff saw a potential problem with the original design that called for elliptical RCP influent line to run beneath Cuyahoga Street. They realized that there would be difficulty in achieving clearance under the public road, even though the RCP line would be elliptical, and that could lead to inability of the RCP line to pass the required pressure test specification, according to John Smith, president of HM Miller Construction.
Smith called upon his resources at Hobas to assist in devising an alternate plan for CSO 22 that would resolve the inherent difficulties surrounding installation and testing using the RCP. Together they came up with a design that saved time and money tying the Howard Storage Basin into the main line. In place of the elliptical RCP originally specified to be installed under Cuyahoga Street, the new design called for twin 57-in. Hobas CCFRPM pipe that would tie into the OCIT-1 main line with a concrete collar subsequently designed by the project engineer.
Hobas provided 72 psi CCFRPM with FWC (fiberglass welding coupling) coupling:
- 100 lf of 84-in. FWC direct bury pipe for the overflow sewer;
- 820 lf of 57-in. FWC direct bury pipe that was jacked under Cuyahoga Street to form the twin-line influent to the Howard Street Basin;
- 10 fittings that included various elbows, wyes and reducers.
HM Miller Construction, a civil and utilities construction contractor, has a long 40-year history of contracts with the City of Akron, and has installed over 11,540 ft of Hobas centrifugally cast fiberglass reinforced polymer mortar (CCFRPM) pipe in the Akron area just since 2011. It was respect developed over this long history between the firm, the Public Service Department and local engineering firms that encouraged the consideration and acceptance of this major design change during the construction phase, long after the engineering design had been completed. In a true instance of teamwork, the owner (city of Akron), design engineer (DLZ/ McMillen Jacobs/COWI) and Construction Manager at Risk (Great Lakes Construction Co.) accepted the alternate plan submitted by the subcontractor.