Omaha Public Works is using explosives for part of the city's sewer separation project, blasting away bedrock near 3rd and Pierce, southeast of the Old Market, Wednesday afternoon.
Similar blasting will be done at 4 p.m. Friday and next Monday with 450 pounds of explosives more than 30 feet below ground used to begin work on a new sewer pumping station to replace an older, smaller one built in the 1960s.
“Normally when we build something we dig in the dirt and build a foundation,” said Marty Grate of Omaha Public Works. “We actually need to get 50-feet below ground in order to get a big enough well from which to pump water and so the last 20-feet of that is going to be in bedrock and that's the reason for the blast.”
The new pumping station will collect storm water and waste water, which will then be pumped to the water treatment plant before going back into the Missouri River.
Ten minutes before each blast, Pierce Street east of 5th Street and 2nd Street north of Hickory will be temporarily closed. The street will then reopen about five minutes after the blast.
Construction crews ask that all residents and employees of nearby businesses stay away from the area during that 15-minute window.
The project is part of an unfunded federally mandated program to reduce the number of raw sewage overflows into rivers and streams. Click here for more information about the project.