Work continues on repairs to Valley Forge Park sewer main

TREDYFFRIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. - March 19, 2014

Iron replacement sections for the ruptured sewer main arrived overnight and they are being installed at this hour, as the pipe that broke, hemorrhaging millions of gallons of sewage into environmentally sensitive Valley Creek, sits by the road in shambles.

"We're using ductile iron pipe. It's different then the pipe used in the 1970s so this will hopefully fix this section and we will do a long-term analysis of the line so far," said Bill Martin, Tredyffrin Township Manager.

The environmental impact appears to be minimal so far but it is egg-laying time for wild brown trout.

"We don't have any dead fish that we can tell. We haven't seen any. We're doing very well under the circumstances," said Robert Bonney, Waterways Conservation Officer.

State officials say this is the most encouraging news in 24 hours since this crisis began.

It was around 11:00 a.m. Tuesday that park rangers and police responded to the scene at the intersection of Routes 23 and 252. For hours after the break a torrent of sewage flowed from the roadway and into the creek below.

This is the second time in a few weeks and the third time in recent years that this 30 inch main, made of concrete and wrapped with a steel band, has ruptured. While the road erupted in the same area as the last sewer break in February, officials say it's not the same section of pipe.

The sewer line is 3 ½ miles long and is made of concrete pipe. In February when that rupture happened, that section of pipe was then replaced with iron pipe, which remains intact. It was a nearby section of concrete that burst on Tuesday. That is the section now being replaced by iron pipes.

"It shouldn't be happening to begin with. We need to be a little more proactive with the old infrastructure that we're dealing with to be preventing these things from happening," said Fred Gender, Trout Ltd. Trout Water Conservationist.

Then there's the impact on traffic. Route 252 is closed between Yellow Springs Road and Route 23. In addition, Route 23 is closed between Davis Road and North Gulph Road.

For many motorists it's a headache but for others it's just a walk in the park.

"That's the way life is. What are you going to do? It happens - but it beats all the ice and snow we've had," said George McCarty.

If all goes well, crews are expected to finish repairs no later than Thursday.

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