With blueprints spread out in front of him on a long table, the city's director of public works, Matt Worth, walked a group of Washington Avenue residents through plans for an upgrade to the sewer system along their street this summer.
The impact on residents during construction should be minimal, Worth said, but, hey, it's a construction project.
"It's going to be a busy summer," Worth said. "I'd like to tell you it's not going to be disruptive, but I'd be kinda kiddin' ya. It's going to be noisy and loud and (with) bumps and things like that, but hopefully, when it's all said and done, the end product is going to be very good."
When it's done, residents will have a new sewer line, many will have new water service hookups and the street from Ross Street to Ellicott Avenue will be completely repaved.
The entire project will cost about $1.4 million and is part of the city's capital project, paid for with rate increases, to improve the water and sewer system, which in many parts of the city is buckling under the strain of age.
Once started, the project will take four months to complete.
During construction, residents along Washington should always have sewer service, Worth said.
The contractor will work to keep disruptions to a minimum. If a driveway is blocked, it will only be for a day and the contractor will provide advance notice. The sidewalk will be kept clear and walkable and a engineer will be on site at all times to ensure the project goes smoothly.
"Construction projects like this are dirty," Worth said. "They create dust. If it rains, they create mud. There are bumps and bruises and stuff, however, the contractor is expected to require to maintain the project in a safe manner."
Residents shouldn't need to worry about driving into a big hole, Worth said.
Where the sewer line crosses a connect from a residence to a water main, the connection from the main to the shutoff valve (by the property line at the sidewalk) will be replaced.
Which raised a question from a resident about replacing the water line to the house. Worth said if the line is galvanized, it might be best to replace it with copper pipe. The galvinized pipe isn't a health issue, Worth said, but the circumference of the pipe could be greatly constricted, reducing water pressure.
"Quite often, the homeowner does use this as an opportunity to change the pipe all the way to the house," Worth said. "You would hire a plumber to do that."
The project might also uncover problems with sewer connection, such as damaged clay tile or roots growing through the line. If workers discover anything like that when connecting the new line to the homeowner's line, they will let the homeowner know.
"If (the line) is cast iron and has worked as a sewer it's likely to continue to work as a sewer," Worth said.
Washington Towers won't be affected by the project because all of their connections are on State Street.
The doctors' offices along Washington all share common sewer and water lines, so there is only one connection to deal with.
Water service should not be affected, unless the connection line needs to be replaced, in which case the homeowner will be given advance notice, water will be shut off for only a few hours during the day, and there should be no water discoloration.
"However, there's going to be large excavation equipment digging adjacent to where all this is and unfortunately sometimes bad things happen," Worth said "If there is a water main break or a significant event, yes you could very well see conditions like that."
The contractor will reseed the parkway, but the quality of the grass will really depend on the attention and care given to it by the homeowner.
"If the homeowner is there and waters it every other day, you're going to have grass and it's going to stabilize and it's not going to be a headache for you," Worth said.