August 24, 2018

Citizens Energy Ramps Up Inspections After Downtown Sinkhole

A construction crew worked in July to repair a manhole structure collapse at the intersection of Maryland and Illinois streets. - Sarah Panfil/WFYI

A construction crew worked in July to repair a manhole structure collapse at the intersection of Maryland and Illinois streets.

Sarah Panfil/WFYI

Citizens Energy Group says it will evaluate its sewer system more frequently.

The announcement comes one month after century-old infrastructure caused a sinkhole and a collapsed manhole in downtown Indianapolis.

Vice President of Water Operations Jeff Willman says the water utility company averages over 80 sewer failures a year since 2012. But he says they inherited a system that averaged 120 repairs a year.

"So I think we’re heading in the right direction, I think we’re doing the right things to help mitigate unexpected failures," Willman says. "But this is a bit of a marathon. It wasn’t created overnight, and it’s not gonna be resolved overnight."

The company says recent sewer failures prompted a rapid assessment of the underground structures and pipes in Indianapolis.

Its 10-year cycle of inspection for the downtown area will now happen every five years.

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