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MSD: Some sewer lines more than 100 years old

CORRYVILLE, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- Cincinnati has 3,000 miles of sewer line below its streets and some of those lines are more than 100 years old, the Metropolitan Sewer District said Friday.

"It is common throughout the city and throughout the country. A lot of cities like Cincinnati have aging infrastructure," said MaryLynn Lodor, deputy director of MSD.

Thursday evening, a problem was discovered when the ground on Shields Street gave way and the back-end of a Metro Bus fell into a hole. A 101-year-old, 21-inch clay sewer line collapsed but MSD officials said they were still investigating what caused the ground to cave in.

"We have to find out what part of the pipe is bad, we take it out and insert a new piece," said Dave Rieman, a sewer construction inspector with MSD.

Lodor said MSD inspects sewer lines daily while responding to customer complaints or as part of the agency's preventative maintenance initiatives. MSD workers drop robotic cameras into the lines. The cameras transmit crystal-clear images to a television monitor which will show any problems. MSD also has a trenchless system to maintain the lines. Fiberglass sleeves can be placed in a line to extend the life by 50 years. Lodor said Thursday night's collapse was unusual.

"It's definitely an unusual situation. It's an anomaly. And we work very hard to not make these kinds of things happen," Lodor said.

MSD has plans to rehabilitate some lines. The agency maintains 3,000 miles of sewer lines. Rieman said he can't rule out another collapse.

"Ground is moving all the time. So being a hundred years old it's clay tile pipe. Will it happen again? I'm sure it will. To this extreme? Hopefully not," Rieman said.

MSD says it could take a month to repair the damage.

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