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November 15, 2013

City considering $1 million pipe replacement

GREENVILLE — The City of Greenville continues to have issues keeping wastewater out of local rivers and streams.

Director of Public Works Massoud Ebrahim and an engineer from the Freese and Nichols consulting firm told the city council Tuesday night that it is expected to cost approximately $1 million to fix the worst of the problem, known as Inflow and Infiltration (I&I).

The city’s wastewater reclamation center was built to treat up to six million gallons of wastewater a day. Two holding tanks at the center are able to contain up to 50 million gallons of wastewater, awaiting treatment.

However, when there is a heavy rain, there is more wastewater in the system than can be contained, causing overflows from manholes and bypasses at the wastewater treatment plant, which leak in the Cowleech Fork of the Sabine River.

“Basically, we keep getting runoff from rainwater into our sewer system collection system,” Ebrahim explained.

In March, the wastewater plant experienced peak flows that exceeded the capacity of the new pumping facilities and resulted in flooding of one of the new buildings at the plant.

In May, the council voted to approve a budget amendment to pay Freese and Nichols a total of $137,900 to conduct an I&I study, the results of which were presented Tuesday.

“We selected a couple of projects in the most critical areas,” said the firm’s Brian Coltharp, noting that old, clay pipes and obsolete manhole covers, especially in the north sections of Greenville are contributing to the problem.

“The area around Interstate 30 and the Sabine River has had a history of backups and overflow,” Coltharp said, adding the area where the Sabine River flows under Highway 67/Lee Street is also a concern.

The study indicated that the work to address the problems in the north part of town will involve the replacement of 7,500 feet of clay pipe with PVC pipe, as well as the replacement of several manholes.

Coltharp said the work would take about six to nine months.

“About a year from now, the project should be complete,” he said.

Overflows and bypasses are violations of the City of Greenville’s permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the EPA Clean Water Act and expose the city to potential enforcement actions and penalties of up to $25,000 per day.

The council will take action concerning approving the project in the near future.

Once the problems in the northern sector are corrected, studies will be done in the southern and western sectors of the city.

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