Managing Manhole Maintenance

Des Moines city crews successfully take on major rehabilitation challenge

by Angus W. Stocking, L.S. — Aug 21, 2013

Des Moines, Iowa, is a quiet, prosperous community of 203,000. But Iowa’s largest city has been severely tested by two major flood events in recent decades: The ‘Great Flood of 1993’ was the most devastating flood in U.S. history, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Iowa Flood of 2008 was so devastating that it caused about $64 billion worth of damages and is referred to as, ‘Iowa’s Katrina.’

The occasional flooding and high groundwater put intense pressure on Des Moines’ aging sewer system. “Our main sewer infrastructure in most of the city is about 100 years old,” explains Des Moines section chief Rick Powell, who’s in charge of manhole rehabilitation and levee maintenance. “And it’s almost all brick — brick lines and old brick manholes.”

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