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Wellington 'reality TV' necessary, but not pretty

By JOHN SERFUSTINI
Sun Advocate Reporter

Reality TV is coming to Wellington. It'll be high stakes and high suspense and everyone in town is going to be involved, one way or another.

It has to do with sewers. The town has to flush and videotape the interiors of every main line in town.

That's the mandate from the state's Permanent Community Impact Board as a result of the city's emergency request for $480,000 Friday. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the town's Main Street pipe failed and had to be cleared. That is when the first installment of the TV show began, as a special camera dragged through sewer showed more than a half-mile of decrepit pipe with gaps in some places where there was no pipe at all.

It can be fixed, but it won't be cheap, Mayor Ben Blackburn told the city council Wednesday. A flexible sleeve can be run through the pipe through the section to be repaired. Then the sleeve will be pumped full of hot water. That will harden the liner in place. Water pressure will cause the liner to dimple in places where lateral lines feed into the main. Then a remote-controlled cutter can carve out the dimpled spots so all the connections can flow into the main.

Blackburn said Friday afternoon that the city got more and less from the CIB than he wanted. The city was seeking the full $480,000 as a direct grant. However, the board would not part with full amount because the city's sewer rates were deemed too low at $22 a month, the mayor explained.

The package awarded by the CIB was $240,000 as a grant and another $240,000 as a no-interest, 30-year loan. As for the flush and videotaping, the board voted to grant $75,000 to cover the full cost.

Paying off the loan portion will not be a back-breaker, at least for this initial repair. Blackburn estimated it would amount to only a dollar or so a month per customer. However, the results of the system-wide survey have yet to be seen.




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