Florence company to being mapping sewer system

Published 10:13 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Florence company is expected to begin the first phase of 10-year project to assess, evaluate, replace and upgrade the city’s sewer system as part of a consent decree between the city and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign a $700,808.67 contract with Suncoast Infrastructure Inc. of Florence to assess and examine the condition of the city’s 108-year-old sewer system and map it. Suncoast was the only company to submit a bid for the project.

Suncoast is expected to start in May and take three months to complete the assessment. The process involves taking video of the lines and performing smoke tests for leaks. The assessment is the first part of 10-year sewer system assessment and mapping project estimated at $3.7 million.

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“They’re going to do 10 percent of the sewer lines this year,” Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said. “We’re not sure where on the system they’ll begin. We’re going to clean the system and then they will put a camera through it to assess and map the system. Once they’re through we’ll have an idea what condition those lines are in and what work will have to be done.”

Although the city has the sewer system’s route mapped out on paper, Van Norman said the EPA requires the city to have the system mapped electronically, so someone in the future can go on a computer and look at the system.

He said any repairs to the system would depend on what the survey finds. Flaggs said in March the city would begin a utilities improvement program in 2016, which will include improvements to the sewer system.

The assessment program is part of the requirements mandated by the EPA under the consent decree between the city and the Environmental Protection Agency that was signed in 2013 after an EPA report cited the city for allowing raw sewage to be dumped into the Mississippi River and other local streams during a five-year period.

Under the agreement, the city paid a $17,000 fine and in August approved an ordinance regulating the disposal of grease and cooking fats in the city’s sewer system. The grease ordinance set restrictions on the type and design of grease interceptors, which prevent grease, oils and fats from entering the sewer system, traps for retaining and separating waterborne greases and grease collection and facilities.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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