Purchase photos

Hays set to begin sewer cleaning





In an effort to keep the city's sewer systems operating efficiently, the city of Hays has contracted with Blue Nile Contractors for sewer line cleaning and inspections.

Work will continue today in northwest and southwest Hays locations.

"It's a relatively small project," Bernie Kitten, city of Hays utilities director, said at a press briefing last week. "We're trying to see how well they (Blue Nile Contractors) do."

Approximately 18,000 feet of sewer line will be cleaned by Blue Nile Contractors. Sludge, tree roots, grass, grit and sand will be removed throughout the process in an effort to significantly reduce the chance of sewer backups.

Following the sewer line cleaning, a camera will be sent through the line to show what areas need replacement or repair.

Notification will be given to affected residents prior to the project by way of door-hangers, the city's website and Nixle e-mail and phone communications. Those notifications will list measures residents can take to avoid the inconvenience of having water splashing through toilets, sinks and drains during the process.

That inconvenience should be minor compared to the benefit of having clean sewer lines, Kitten said.

"It's very important to get this done," he said. "We're behind on it, and we're going to try to alleviate that."

The hope, Kitten said, is to have each line in the city cleaned at least once every three years.

In the past, sewer line cleaning typically has been completed by city crews with city equipment. This is the first year an outside firm has been contracted to do the work.

"It is more or less a test run to see how the process works with contracting with a firm," said Assistant City Manager Paul Briseno. "If it's successful, we'll do a much larger project next year."