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Merrill Street Combined Sewer Rehabilitation

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dealing with increasingly ailing infrastructure and the need to “go green” when possible, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) contacted Wessler Engineering to provide services for the rehabilitation of the Merrill Street sewer to extend its useful life and increase pipe capacity.

The Merrill Street combined sewer is a 60 to 66-inch reinforced concrete sewer handling both sanitary and stormwater flow through the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Installed in the late 1940s and roughly 30 feet deep, the sewer serves two major downtown customers: Eli Lilly & Company and the U.S. postal hub. Approximately 2,900 linear feet of sewer was rehabilitated along Merrill Street.

The selected rehabilitation method was Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) with this project featuring the largest diameter CIPP liner DPW had undertaken. The project crossed five major thoroughfares without a single road closure.

The Wessler team was responsible for the design and bid phase and provided construction administration assistance for this landmark project.

After evaluating numerous sewer rehabilitation options during the design phase, the CIPP option was chosen as the best combination of cost, minimized disruption and flow capacity increase (+25%).

To install the CIPP, a 60-million-gallon per day (MGD) bypass pumping operation was first established to ensure the sewer remained dry during rehabilitation. Above ground, the site looked like ten pickup truck-sized pumps pushing flow nearly three-quarters of a mile through three 24-inch bypass sewers.

A high level of coordination and cooperation with Eli Lilly and the U.S. postal hub was required to make this project successful. The main bypass pumping pit was located in front of Eli Lilly’s corporate headquarters. The bypass lines ran in front of the U.S. postal hub whose truck and delivery traffic could not be disrupted.

The Wessler team worked hand-in-hand with representatives from DPW’s Engineering Division to evaluate rehabilitation options, present solutions to area businesses and minimize disruption to downtown customers.

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Joseph Bartos, P.E.

Wastewater Collection Assistant Group Head

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