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City moves to prevent sewage flow into Sabine watershed

Greenville Herald-Banner

City officials should know by the middle of next month how much it will cost to make repairs to a portion of Greenville’s wastewater collection system.

Bids are due July 15 on a project designed to help keep the wastewater out of area rivers and streams.

“We are wanting to upgrade old sewer lines, so that sewage stays in the ground and doesn’t come out,” explained Director of Public Works Massoud Ebrahim.

Ebrahim and an engineer from the Freese and Nichols consulting firm told the Greenville City Council in November that it is expected to cost approximately $1 million to fix the worst of the problem, known as Inflow and Infiltration (I&I).

The bids are being sought for the first phase of the project.

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, resulting in the sewage leaking into the Cowleech Fork of the Sabine River.

In March 2013 the wastewater plant experienced peak flows that exceeded the capacity of the new pumping facilities and resulted in flooding of one of the buildings at the plant.

In May of last year, the council voted to approve a budget amendment to pay Freese and Nichols a total of $137,900 to conduct an I&I study, which identified old, clay pipes and obsolete manhole covers, especially in the north sections of Greenville, are contributing to the problem.

“If we don’t fix them, they will overflow our sewer treatment plant,” Ebrahim said.

The area around Interstate 30 and the Sabine River and the area where the Sabine River flows under Highway 67/Lee Street have seen occasional backups and overflow during periods of heavy rain.

The study indicated 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 and is expected to take about six to nine months.

“We also will make upgrades at the sewer treatment plant that will protect us from inflow and infiltration,” Ebrahim 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.

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