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Wilmington testing stormwater pipes

WILMINGTON -- Wilmington city officials are taking steps to inspect downtown stormwater pipes to see if they need to be repaired. Crew members Tuesday lowered a camera underground. What that camera showed them seems to be good news for the city. A crew contracted by the city started its work downtown on Princess Street near Sixth Street. Its mission was to inspect the stormwater pipes for deficiencies. Derek Niswonger was inspecting the stormwater pipes. "We're basically CC-TVing the line. We're running a camera system down through here, looking for debris, structural problems and just mapping the whole system." Niswonger was at the controls of the camera that can reach 1,500 feet. He had good news to report. "The pipe looks real good. It's about as good as it gets, nice and clean and structurally sound," Niswonger said. Wilmington's stormwater services manager Dave Mayes was happy to hear that news. Mayes said, "The more good pipes that we find the less money we have to put out at this time to repair them." Mayes says this inspection is in cooperation with public utilities' sewer repair plans. "We want to look and see what sort of condition those pipes are in, so when the water and sewer rehabilitation efforts start in the downtown area we can also be prepared to do any rehab on the drainage system," Mayes said. Mayes says the crew has four to six weeks of work ahead of it. Niswonger says the positive initial results reflect well on the city. "It says a lot. Their maintenance program is very effective keeping debris out of the pipe," Niswonger said. The area being inspected is between the river and Sixth Street and Red Cross and Nun Streets. It may cause partial lane closures is that area, but the city doesn't expect roads to be closed.

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