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Mill Creek underground surface water pipe repair begins

The repair of Mill Creek’s aging surface water system in the Douglas Fir, Vine Maple, and Evergreen neighborhoods began on Monday, July 20, 2020. This approximately $750,000 project is scheduled to be complete by the end of September.
Vacuum truck. Photo courtesy of City of Mill Creek.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

The repair of Mill Creek’s aging surface water system in the Douglas Fir, Vine Maple, and Evergreen neighborhoods began on Monday, July 20, 2020. This approximately $750,000 project is scheduled to be complete by the end of September.

The project utilizes trenchless technology allowing the pipes to be repaired without having to dig up the old pipes. Workers gain access to the underground pipes through manholes and catch basin grates.

Residents should expect noise from a vacuum truck that will be used to clean the pipes before repairs are made. Also, contractors park their vehicles on the side of the road while the repair work is being performed.

This project is part of the city’s Surface Water Capital Program, which currently focuses on pipes larger than 18 inches in diameter.

In December 2017 the failure of one of these surface water pipes caused sinkholes to form in the Sweetwater Ranch neighborhood.

The emergency repair eventually cost the city approximately $800,000 and prompted the city to prioritize the aging surface water system repair with a better defined and better funded Surface Water Capital Program.

In 2018 the city council voted unanimously to increase the surface water fee paid by property owners each year with their property taxes.

Early in 2019 they also authorized the issue of a $3,322,000 limited tax general obligation bond to fund the surface water system repairs.   

The city’s Public Works Department ability to deliver projects recently suffered with the resignation of Director Gina Hortillosa, who left to take a job at Alderwood Water & Wastewater District.

Also, although the city council authorized a new surface water engineer position for 2020, City Manager Michael Ciaravino has yet to fill the position.

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