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Sewer leak leaves smelly flood along Atlantic City, Ventnor stretch

A sewer main leak has left a stinky mess and a traffic issue along a stretch between Atlantic City and Ventnor.
The leak has been tracked to a 27-inch force main along Wellington Avenue, said Atlantic County Utilities Authority President Rick Dovey.
The main carries all the wastewater from Longport, Margate and Ventnor to the treatment plant in Atlantic City’s Venice Park, he explained.
Drinking water is not affected.
But because it’s a force main, it can’t be shut off.
To do that, “everybody in Ventnor, Longport and Margate would have to stop taking showers, using their washers and flushing their toilets,” Dovey explained. “That’s not likely to happen.”
Instead, a bypass will be built that will be built so that it will then be hooked up to send the water around the problem main.
During that build — which will take about six or seven days — the sewage will continue to leak, and about four blocks along the stretch of road will flood periodically.
Detours are in place, which were complicated by the heavy rain that added to flooding issues.
The Atlantic City side from Chelsea Height was one-way in, with Dorset Avenue in Ventnor being the way out.
Lafayette Utilities, an emergency contract with the ACUA, is working on the problem.
When the workaround is complete, excavation and repair will begin on the problematic pipe, which will take about three weeks.
The Department of Environmental Protection and the Atlantic County Department of Health have been notified.
As the sewage leaks, it will go into the back bay behind Ventnor Heights, which will be tested about every other day over the next several weeks, Dovey said, noting it’s good that it isn’t swimming and boating season.
“Their main concern is the health of shellfish and the impact on that,” he said.
The believed issue point was worked on about 25 years ago, Dovey estimated.
At that time, they did something called slip lining, which puts a new pipe inside the old one.
Although it hasn’t been accessed yet, Dovey said they believe there was failure at that point.
The good news is that the technology that now makes those fusion points is more secure than a quarter-century ago.

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