Not Caving Under Pressure: An Emergency Cemetery Stormdrain Replacement


Michael Hogan,1 PE, RK&K 

Gabriela Larus,2 PE, RK&K;  

Bill Boston, City of Richmond DPU

Land subsidence at several graves within the Oakwood Cemetery in the City of Richmond prompted an urgent response from the City’s Department of Public Utilities.  RK&K was given this emergency task to replace the existing undersized and failing storm drain from under the grave plots and design a new system to follow the roadway network to a new outfall location. Due to its critical nature, this project was accelerated from concept design to completed construction in less than seven months.

As part of the project, the existing storm drain was abandoned, and 550 linear feet of new storm drain improvements were installed to improve the drainage capacity though the project area and resolve recurrent flooding.  This project also included construction of 180 linear feet of new stabilized outfall channel.  This presentation will focus on unique challenges and solutions throughout the accelerated project development including:

  • Accelerated project delivery steps
  • Use of historic cemetery records and unique utility locating measures
  • Avoidance of historic and environmental features
  • Design of a new outfall channel with elevation drop of over 30’