Old infrastructure causes sewer line on DeRenne Ave. to collapse

By Camille Syed

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 6:08 PM EST

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - If you drove up DeRenne Avenue Monday, it’s no surprise lane closures are still holding up traffic after a sewer line on the road collapsed almost a week ago.

“People that need the road, access to hospitals, that’s harsh.”

Giovanna Patton travels from Bryan County and weathered the backed up traffic on Derenne Avenue to get to her daughter’s doctors appointment.

“We already expect to have traffic during certain hours but now if it’s closed down like that, that’s intense for people that have to make the commute on a daily especially,” Patton said.

And those people who have the daily commute may be wondering what caused the sewage spill holding them up. City of Savannah Water Resources Environmental Manager Laura Walker says a weak point in the pipe caused the collapse because of old infrastructure.

“We had a breach in the pipe and it was filled with a lot of sand so it’s taken us quite a long time to figure out the best solution but we’ve got one and we’re going to be down a rehab repair on it,” Laura Walker said.

Walker says it was a resident who spotted the problem.

“When you see a manhole cover which is a big round metal cover and it has liquid coming out, that’s what someone reported.”

This helped them get on top of the break that caused more than 58 thousand gallons of sewage to spill sooner than later. Walker says the pipe is connected to Casey Canal on Montgomery Crossroads and they pumped roughly 720 thousand gallons of water a day for multiple days to make sure sewage didn’t negatively impact the canal.

“We were able to set up a pump and redirect the water that was coming out of our storm water pipe to another sewer line where it will be taken to a plant and treated before it goes back out to the environment.”

According to the city, the line was inspected within the last five years. Walker says now that they know the problem, repairs will take place during slower hours and at night.

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