Pipe repair keeps plant efficient

Friday, December 26, 2008

A $450,275 grant was received by Lewisburg's Water and Wastewater Department this month to pay for about 84 percent of another sewer repair project.

While hardly glamorous, replacement of sewers which let groundwater to seep into the collection system is important for efficient operation of wastewater treatment plants.

Lewisburg is one of only 11 communities in Tennessee to receive such a grant this year.

The Community Development Block Grant is federal money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but its distribution is through the state and the check received by the city was signed by Gov. Phil Bredesen.

"This is the fourth CDBG that we've received in the last eight years," says Kenneth Carr, assistant superintendent of the Lewisburg Water and Wastewater Department. "It's all being used for sewer rehab - all to prevent ground water from seeping into the sewer pipes."

During wet weather, an overabundance of ground water seeping into sewers can result in more liquid flowing to a treatment plant, thereby forcing its discharge of partly treated wastewater. The problem isn't unique to Lewisburg.

"This kind of infrastructure is very important to the well-being of our citizens and the overall economic development of our county," according to state Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) who's district includes Marshall County. "We will continue to work with our local officials to bring our citizens hard-earned tax dollars back into the county."

Replacement pipes are flexible enough to be slipped into a void left when an existing pipe is burst underground, thereby avoiding the necessity of digging up an entire stretch of pipeline.

This latest grant will be spent on sewer replacement work in "Drainage Basin No. 7," Carr said. That's mostly in the part of town where Lewisburg Public Housing Authority dwelling units are located.

The project probably won't start until late summer or early fall in 2009, Carr said. Bid could be called for opening "in May or June, probably June," he said.

While the $450,275 grant will pay for 84 percent of the project's estimated cost, the city is to fund the remaining 16 percent.

"We've been extremely fortunate to get four grants in the last eight years," Carr said.