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North Olmsted looking to contractors for much-needed catch basin replacements

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 3/24/2021 John Benson, cleveland.com
a fire hydrant on the side of a road: North Olmsted planning for extensive catch basin repairs. © John Benson/cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS North Olmsted planning for extensive catch basin repairs.

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — With a focus on stormwater management, North Olmsted is considering a different approach to catch basin maintenance and replacement.

This week the North Olmsted Environmental Control Committee of Council is discussing a new program that if approved will shift catch basin replacement, which is currently an in-house responsibility, to an outside contractor.

“Catch basins are extremely important to make sure our systems are working at full capacity,” Mayor Kevin Kennedy said, “We want to make sure we get more out of the catch basins than we ever have in the past.”

The impetus for the change, which will end up costing the city an estimated $50,000 annually, came from North Olmsted Forestry and Storm Foreman Michael Bosau.

His department’s six workers, who are responsible for cleaning and televising storm mains, often don’t have the time to complete the number of catch basin repairs needed in the community.

“It would get to a point doing catch basins in-house where we’d rip two out and we’d get called away have to work on something else,” Bosau said. “We’d have these open holes on the street. Also, it takes the guys away from storm main cleaning, which the city is focused on right now.

“Unless it’s caving in and a hazard to the road, replacing a catch basin is not the highest priority. If we had a dedicated crew that could do catch basins, it would be more efficient. We could keep a list that would be knocked out during the year.”

North Olmsted Director of Planning and Community Development Kimberly Lieber talked about the important role catch basins perform in stormwater infrastructure.

“Catch basins collect surface water from our streets, which flows into our storm mains,” Lieber said. “Debris from the roadway is collected in the catch basins and periodically cleaned out to help keep the water flowing. When catch basins fall into disrepair, perhaps mortar has degraded and bricks have fallen out.

“This can result in reducing the flow of water and increasing the potential of flooding in heavy rain events. This program is designed to replace catch basins on a proactive basis, coordinated with catch basin cleaning and our street rehabilitation program.”

In order to eliminate the possibility of bricks in the storm mains, Lieber said the mayor favors the use of pre-poured concrete insert catch basins that provided added longevity.

“Using a contractor is the most cost-effective way of tackling this program, especially in moving to the concrete inserts, which require different materials, equipment and skillset than the bricklaying historically performed by our service department,” Lieber said.

Previously, the North Olmsted Service Department was able to replace 25 to 30 catch basins annually. Bosau said at an estimate of $1,200 each, the city hopes to contract the work out for upward of 40 catch basins this year between July and September.

“We hope it will move forward and legislation could be approved as soon as April 20, which would allow the service department to collect bids for the work,” Lieber said.

Read more news from the Sun Post Herald here.

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