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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Will needed downtown sewer work sidetrack sidewalk project?

  • News that the Board of Public Works may have to do extensive sewer work in downtown Hannibal could be bad news for the long-anticipated sidewalk project and the planned mill and overlay of Main Street.


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  • News that the Board of Public Works may have to do extensive sewer work in downtown Hannibal could be bad news for the long-anticipated sidewalk project and the planned mill and overlay of Main Street.
    The BPW recently learned that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is taking a dim view of the city’s periodic practice of using a bypass valve when the water table is particularly high and water begins invading the downtown sewer system. When the bypass valve is opened, rather than back up into the basements of Main Street businesses, sewage is discharged into a pond behind the Mark Twain Hotel. From there the sewage is pumped into the river untreated, although it is diluted with river water.
    Because the BPW has been informed it can expect a notice of violation from the DNR, BPW officials are already anticipating being told that drastic (and costly) improvements will be necessary. Such work could take many months to complete.
    Bob Stevenson, general manager of the BPW, has acknowledged that the anticipated sewer project could have a big impact downtown.
    “Part of the solution is probably going to be we’ll have to replace, reline or do something with all the sewer mains downtown, which would greatly impact any sidewalk project,” he said recently.
    During last month’s meeting of the BPW Board, Stevenson said it would be a “huge black eye” for the board if it let the sidewalk/street projects go forward, knowing that streets and sidewalks will likely have to be disturbed while performing its mandatory sewer improvements.
    City Manager Jeff LaGarce says he has not yet discussed any possible options with the BPW.
    “I’m aware there is a problem. I’m also aware there may be a way to collaborate to get these problems fixed and put the new sidewalk in rather than doing one then tearing things up,” he said earlier this week. “We haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk about that. I haven’t been fully briefed on it yet. I know there’s an issue and an opportunity here, but I’ve had no time to sit down with them to this point.”
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