City flushes out problems

Published 8:50 am Monday, May 16, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
The city of Atmore is hoping to devote $1.3 million to alleviate wastewater overflow problems throughout the city.
Most of the money would come from a grant that the city council applied for Thursday at a special called meeting to discuss the issue. The rest would come from the utility board.
"The city has applied for a grant for $800,000 to alleviate some of these manholes that overflow when we get a two or three inch rain," Tom Wolfe, manager of city gas and water department said. "If it rains two or three inches when the ground is wet the manholes overflow."
The money would go towards a new system that would take pressure off of the existing system.
"What we're going to do is build force mains that will alleviate some of those lift stations," Wolfe said. "A force main is a direct line to the sewer plant that's got a pump behind it that pumps water."
The new systems would push the water away from central areas of town and force it to go directly to the wastewater treatment plant.
"What were looking at doing is reworking the Trammel street lift station and the Lindberg lift station," wastewater superintendent Kenny Smith said. "They're going to extend those force mains. Hopefully that will take some of it (wastewater) out of Lindberg and some out of Trammel and take it all directly here (to the treatment plant). We don't know if it will solve all the problems, but it will alleviate some of them and certainly take a lot of them out of town."
According to Smith the water is currently pushed from one lift station to another. When there is excess water in the system this causes a backup.
"Rather than one lift station having to pump out everything sent to it, each station will send waste water directly to the plant," Smith said. "There is going to be some grant money, if it comes through, to help with this."
The main areas currently being affected are around the Trammel, Lindberg, MLK and Liberty areas.
The new system would not replace the old system, but it will hopefully take some pressure off of it.
"We'll configure the existing system to switch to the new system in the event of a large rain event," Wolfe said. "It'll be a 12-inch force main so we can put a lot of water through it."
Some roads will likely close in areas for construction.
"They are probably going to dig up the road in places," Wolfe said.
But that temporary inconvenience could end an ongoing problem.
"We're going to do all this for $1,300,000," Wolfe said. "The utility board will contribute $500,000. The city is applying for the grant."
The utilities board can not apply for its own grant which is why the city council met Thursday night to discuss the issue. The plan would not go into effect for some time, however.
"It will probably be six months before we find out if we will be awarded the grant and another year to complete," Wolfe said.

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