$1M sewerage repairs under way

Published 1:47 am Saturday, July 16, 2016

A $1 million project underway on the north side of Andalusia is designed to extend the life of the city’s sewerage treatment plant.

Mayor Earl Johnson described the project as “huge.”

“We are relining all of the north side basin, which is basically the north side of town,” Johnson said.

The project began because of the extreme amount of rainwater that was entering the system.

“On average, our sewerage treatment plant processes two million gallons a day,” Johnson said.

On a really rainy day, he said, that number doubled.

“Basically, we were treating rainwater,” he said. “But we have to treat it because it goes back into the river.”

The project involves lining the existing sewerage lines with a material to prevent leaks. But in places where the lines have collapsed, the lines are being dug up and replaced.

“When all of the repair work is completed, we can come back in and repair the streets,” Johnson said. “It would be cost prohibitive to have a contractor do the street work in small pieces.”

This is the first time in the system’s history the lines have been repaired to this extent, he said, adding that when this project is completed, the Utilities Board will begin looking at a similar project in the south basin.

“At the end of the day, this is a project that should have been done in smaller pieces, years ago” Johnson said. “But as with many unpleasant things, it’s been kicked down the road.”

It is estimated a new sewerage treatment plant would cost $40 million.

“This is a huge job, and we know it’s an aggravation to the public,” Johnson said. “We believe it will pay off for the city in the long run, in extending the life of our treatment plant.”