The slough at Augustana College is back and soon to be better than ever.
The beloved, 1½-acre water feature on the Rock Island campus suddenly and dramatically drained Saturday morning, June 3, when a city sanitary sewer pipe under the slough developed two holes about 18 inches apart.
The openings allowed slough water to rush into the pipe and, under great pressure, go whooshing down the hill where it found a "relief point" in an abandoned, opened-ended 10-inch sanitary sewer lateral pipe, Larry Cook, interim public works director for the city of Rock Island, said. The water flowing out of the pipe washed away soil, causing a parking lot driveway to collapse, and gushed out onto the football field, he said.
Water also came up through manholes, basement drains, even sinks and toilets in Bergendoff and Centennial halls, the Carver Center and the Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex, college representative Keri Rursch said.
While college employees began cleanup and the city brought in Langman Construction, Rock Island, to remove the section of failed pipe and replace it with new, concerned alumni contacted the college.
The result was that through social media and other messaging, about 100 donors gave just more than $10,000 to go toward slough improvements, Rursch said.
"The slough means that much to people," she said. "It's the heart of campus and is a huge part of (our) image. It's a pretty place."
Improvements will include dredging and enhancements to the existing lighting and walkway, she said. Actual repairs to the Carver training room and gym floor are finishing up now and will be paid for by the college and its insurance, she said.
She did not have a damage estimate.
Meanwhile, Cook in public works said that he does not know what caused the pipe to develop the holes that caused the collapse but that the city is inspecting other sections of the pipe with cameras to see if there are problems elsewhere. Relining or replacing pipe might be options, he said.
Ultimately, the majority of the water released in the breach found its way back into storm sewer lines and was directed to the city's wastewater treatment plant.
"To our knowledge, nothing reached the river," Cook said.
The city estimates it received 600,000 to 1 million gallons of water in the breach.
Langman worked on the problem for 3½ days, but Cook said he has not yet seen a bill for the work. Langman was hired because the city does not have the heavy equipment that was needed for the job.