City Council Gets Update On Local Effort To Prevent Sanitary Sewage Overflows

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - by Joseph Dycus

Bill Payne and Jeff Rose on Tuesday gave the City Council an update on what Public Works has done to fix SSOs (Sanitary Sewage Overflow) and what is planned. They mostly spoke about projects that will happen within District 9.

“We wanted to address those areas today,” said Mr. Payne, the public works administrator. “There are a lot of pieces that happen within the consent decree, and the problems causing them are needing to create capacity within existing lines.”

Jeff Rose, director of city Wastewater, told the council that fixing SSOs often involves far more than just addressing the site that is overflowing. Because everything is “hydraulically connected,” several areas must be addressed to fix the problem.

Mr. Rose said that within District 9, there are about $154 million in projects going toward addressing chronic overflows. According to Mr. Rose and Mr. Payne, a SSO qualifies as chronic if it overflows at least five times a year. On each project, Mr. Rose went through slides showing the location, price, and time-frame of each project.

“The red lines are limited weather capacities,” Mr. Rose said about the Talley Road and Wilcox SSOs. “These lines were full a lot and a lot of water was running in, so we did some initial projects for $53 million which did some work inside some of the smaller lines.”

“Two projects are in design where we will be storing 40 million gallons of waste, and construction will begin in 2022 and be completed in 2024. When we complete those projects, now capacity is restored to the Wilcox and Talley SSOs, and that will no longer be a chronic SSO. In order to fix that one SSO, we have to do all of these other projects.”

Mr. Payne told the Council that this is phase 2 of the Consent Decree work. While these projects are important, other projects were deemed to be more pressing by either the EPA or the Department of Justice’s consent decree in phase 1.

 

“This one overflow was no longer chronic, but what we realized is that we still have overflows that are chronic,” Mr. Rose said about the South Kelley St. SSO. “We decided to do two projects worth $16 million that will be completed in Fall 2021. When we complete these projects, we think South Kelley St. will no longer be a SSO.”

 

After the presentation, Jerry Mitchell said at some point in the future, he would like to discuss giving churches breaks when it come to stormwater fees.

 

Some churches are asking if they going to have to bear this load, or can they get some kind of break,” Mitchell said. “This has been spoken about before and spoken about since the beginning of having stormwater fees.”


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