Population size has nothing to do with need, and the not-yet-600 residents of rural Stewart, Minn., have long needed a way to prevent floods that come with heavy rain and snowmelt. Located 70 miles west of Minneapolis on flat McLeod County land, the town contended with storm runoff that had nowhere to go. Until bidding opened in February 2002, a storm water improvement project languished on the drawing board for years.
When GM Contracting of Lake Crystal, Minn., was awarded the project’s contract, work began immediately with its pipe supplier, County Concrete, to meet engineering specifications for an outlet control structure, manholes, and 14,050 feet of reinforced concrete pipe. Accordingly, the contractor anticipated that by summer’s end, Stewart would be ready to handle decades of growth and wet weather.
A civil engineering background and years of experience with municipal pipe projects helped Pipe Division Sales Engineer Jim Rogers sell GM on County Concrete’s product line and its ability to meet the project’s challenges. “On the pipe side, County Concrete is fairly new in Minnesota, so there may be some reluctance to use us,” says Rogers. “GM’s willingness to take the risk and let us demonstrate what we can do gave them an edge in bidding.”
County Concrete’s products were reportedly an easy sell, particularly Superseal elliptical concrete pipe with its preformed gasket. “Arch and elliptical pipe are used when there are profile concerns,” notes Rogers, “that is, when volume and flow of water can’t be restricted, but space for the pipe is restricted. The pipe might need to run above, below, or between something, or, where there’s limited elevation. Our elliptical pipe, used horizontally or vertically, installs faster and is easier than arch pipe to seal.”
Storm water diversion in Stewart called for various-sized pipes and manholes. Weighing ease of installation, GM preferred tee manholes to the standard designs of Stewart’s city engineers. Tee manholes, however, can be tricky to fabricate, particularly with specified 36-in. pipe. County Concrete’s Charlie Anderson, based at the company’s integrated Roberts, Wis., operation east of the Twin Cities, worked with the engineers to quickly modify their manhole specifications. His technical expertise kept the $2 million dollar project on schedule.
County Concrete is also providing an 8-ft. x 8-ft. outlet control in an area north of Stewart near Buffalo Creek, along with nearly 13,625 feet of round concrete pipe and 375 feet of elliptical concrete pipe. GM and city engineers are pleased with the project’s progress to date. For their money, Stewart residents stand to know true flood control – at last.
Report adapted from the Summer 2002 InForm newsletter, published by Marathon, Wis.-based County Concrete Corp.