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City to fix problem with wastewater


Tim Pratt



The city of Starkville''s wastewater treatment plant on Sand Road soon will receive some much-needed improvements. 


The Starkville Board of Aldermen Tuesday voted unanimously to purchase one 6,000-gallon-per-minute pump and one 3,400-gallon-per-minute pump for the treatment facility to replace one pump that went out of service this fall and another which has been out of service for several years. Only two pumps at the wastewater plant pumping station are in service and if one of those fails, the city and environment surrounding the facility is facing a potentially messy situation, Public Services Department Director Doug Devlin said.  


"Well, people''s sewage will work; it will go away," Devlin said when asked after the meeting what would happen if one of the remaining pumps at the station failed. "But down at the south end of town it will be overflowing into Glenn Creek during heavy rains. Instead of going up to the treatment plant and getting treated and cleaned, it will just overflow." 


"We''ve been functioning as-is, but we don''t have a redundant backup," Devlin told the board during the meeting. "If that other pump goes, then we''re going to be in serious trouble. We could be fine or that other pump could go out tomorrow." 


The treatment plant on Sand Road handles all the wastewater for the city of Starkville and Mississippi State University, Devlin said. He called the failure of the third pump this fall as "catastrophic." 


To replace the two pumps will cost the city $72,982. The Public Services Department has money in its budget to pay for the pumps, Devlin said.  


Devlin believes it will take several months to replace the pumps. One of the pumps has a delivery date of six months, he said.  


"They''re not just sitting on a shelf somewhere," Devlin said.  


While the board agreed to purchase the pumps and fix what they described as an "emergency situation," a more in-depth improvement project at the treatment plant was stalled. The board voted unanimously to table a plan to perform $907,000 worth of improvements at the treatment plant until Devlin can come back with a revised plan which might break the project up into phases instead of spending all $907,000 at once.  


Planned improvements at the facility include the replacement of a force main for $205,000. Force mains are pipelines that convey wastewater under pressure from the discharge side of a pump or pneumatic ejector to a discharge point, according to the Environment Protection Agency''s Web site. Pumps or compressors located in a lift station provide the energy for wastewater conveyance in force mains. 


Planned improvements to the station also include an upgraded debris removal system, retrofit piping and a new flow meter, among other things.  


Devlin plans to come back to the board with a revised timeline for upgrades to the Sand Road facility.




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