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Answer man: Defective part leads to steamy street

September 18, 2018

What’s up with the steaming manhole on Third Avenue Southeast by the Government Center? — Debbie Lewis

Don’t you want Rochester’s streetscape to resemble the steamy streets of New York City? If you aren’t familiar with the Big Apple’s famous steam line system, you might have been quite shocked to see thick steam emerging from the middle of a road in Rochester.

Rochester might not have as many steam lines as NYC, and the systems don’t work quite the same, but there have been steam lines under Rochester streets for decades. Garbage burned at the Olmsted County Waste to Energy facility is used to create electricity and steam.

The steam lines travel to more than 30 buildings in the county, including the Government Center, the Rochester Public Library and Mayo Civic and Art Center.

In the case of Third Avenue, one of the steam lines was repaired last week due to normal deterioration, but the new steam trap that was installed was defective according to Brian Grzanek, Olmsted County Solid Waste operations manager. The defective part has since been replaced.

Grzanek said that routine checks and maintenance for the whole system is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sept. 25 through 8 p.m. Sept. 26.

So if you see more crews and maybe even more steam, pretend you’re in the Big Apple and enjoy the scenery.

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