Tuesday, September 10, 2024
9:15 AM - 9:45 AM
Location Name
Separating a 150-Yr-Old Sewer through a Web of Utilities, Debris, and Yes... Quick Sand!
Engineering & Construction

The Regional Water Resource Agency (RWRA) owns and operates the combined sewer and sanitary sewer system in and around Owensboro KY. One of the combined sewer sheds in RWRA’s system is the Ravine Sewer Shed in downtown Owensboro near the convention center. It’s a relatively small watershed and has a trunk sewer that is approximately 4,000 linear feet and runs from Orchard Street and 5th Street to Walnut Street and 2nd Street. The trunk sewer bisects numerous blocks and travels under buildings and a city park. The trunk sewer was constructed in a ravine where a tributary to the Ohio River once flowed. As the City was developed the ravine was filled with various materials and a pipe installed to convey the combined sewer to the Ohio River. The trunk sewer ranges from 18” diameter RCP to 48” brick pipe. The trunk sewer is severely deteriorated with a large amount of infiltration and potential structural integrity problems. RWRA is in the process of implementing their Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) for the combined sewer system, and one of the projects in their LTCP is the Ravine Sewer Upgrade Project. It involved the relocation and upgrade of the Ravine Trunk Sewer and the separation of storm and sanitary sewer in the watershed. RWRA worked with Cannon & Cannon, Inc. (CCI) to develop construction plans to separate the Ravine Combined Sewer. CCI performed survey, hydrologic modeling, routing study, and full engineering design. There were numerous design challenges in this project: 1) Developing structural plans to connect the storm sewer into brick sewer constructed in the 1800s. 2) Finding a route through the heart of downtown Owensboro that included city parks, re-routing around buildings, and coordinating with the Public Works department to construct the sewers along major arterial roads. 3) Determining what buildings/customers needed to be tied into the separated sanitary sewer. 4) Ensuring all the storm inlets along the construction route were tied into the proposed storm sewer. 5) Threading the needle of the proposed storm and sanitary sewer lines through multiple existing utilities along the project route. 6) Preparing for the aggressive running sands (quicksand) that make up some of the geology of Downtown Owensboro Once the design was completed, RWRA hired Cleary Construction to perform the construction of this challenging project. Cleary had to maintain the tight sewer grades during the construction while dealing with the challenging geology of Owensboro and all the other utilities in the area. They also discovered the Ravine sewer area was used as a defacto landfill in the early 1900s. Cleary dug up numerous interesting artifacts (trash) during the construction. Cleary also developed and maintained a process to install the proposed sewers when they encountered the infamous Owensboro running sands (quicksand). This presentation offers a comprehensive exploration of the Ravine Sewer Upgrade Project, emphasizing the technical nuances and collaborative efforts by Owner, Engineer, and Contractor, that underpin the success of this critical infrastructure project.