Sewage overflow to stop

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With more than 100 sanitary sewer overflows since August 2004, a $45,402 fine could have been much higher had Augusta Utilities not agreed to address the overflows' cause, according to Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier.

The latest, an April 28 overflow, sent 1,920 gallons of rainwater containing raw sewage into a Goshen Plantation pond.

Wiedmeier said about 80 percent of the overflows are caused by roots, grease buildup or a combination of the two.

As part of a consent order negotiated with Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the department will adopt a five-year program of preventive maintenance of underground sanitary sewer lines, instead of simply treating backups when they occur, he said.

"It's a culture change," he said. "One of the things we're doing in the restructuring is dedicated preventive maintenance crews."

Augusta Utilities is consolidating divisions and shedding some management positions as part of the government restructuring.

By strengthening root control and developing a formal program to regulate grease discharges, the department was able to lower the fine, but faces a $2,000 monthly penalty if it does not adhere to the plan, he said.

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Sweet son
10366
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Sweet son 05/03/11 - 04:27 pm
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Where will Deke and friends

Where will Deke and friends meet? We wouldn't want them to break the law. The only reason Lockett and friends are causing a stink is because they want to meet in the new courthouse named after a black lawyer/judge!!

corgimom
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corgimom 05/03/11 - 06:39 pm
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This was predicted. But

This was predicted. But here's my next question- where is the money going to come from to do this preventative maintenance, since it didn't exist before this?

If people only knew how terrible the sewer infrastructure is in RC, they would demand change immediately.

And the sewer lines in the old City are the worst. All the years of neglect and lack of maintenance is coming back to haunt them.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/03/11 - 07:18 pm
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Are we the only city that has

Are we the only city that has roots and grease in the sewers?

WoodyKaminer
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WoodyKaminer 05/04/11 - 02:18 am
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I just thought of a great

I just thought of a great place for the commissioners to have their meetings...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/04/11 - 08:12 am
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I'm sure every sewer city in

I'm sure every sewer city in the country has to deal with grease and roots. Our utilities department acts as if this is a totally unforeseen problem.

Tom Wiedmeier
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Tom Wiedmeier 05/04/11 - 09:20 am
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I think it's hard to capture

I think it's hard to capture everything that's going in a short article. If you're interested in what we've been doing and what we have planned, call me at (706) 312-4160.

Riverman1
83717
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Riverman1 05/04/11 - 09:28 am
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Tom, I appreciate your offer,

Tom, I appreciate your offer, but if you would respond here more people would understand your problems. We're fair. These comments allow unlimited replies as long as you don't upset Sean Moores.

Back to my point, I'm sure every city has the same problems. Why wasn't our Utility Department proactive like the others apparently are? Is there something unique to Augusta's system?

Tom Wiedmeier
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Tom Wiedmeier 05/04/11 - 10:00 am
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Every sewer system,

Every sewer system, especially ones with lines as old as ours, struggle with the grease/root problem. Our frequency of backups/overflows is not bad compared with similar systems, but we can do better.

Actually, there has been tremendous progress in the Utilities Department in the last 10 years. We've spent 10's of millions of dollars upgrading the Main Interceptor and Rae's and Butler Creek trunk sewers.

The dilemma when moving from a reactive to a preventive maintenance culture is how to do it without adding people and cost. Our current staff stays pretty busy responding to calls, so we've been working to be more efficient and accountable.

I think once we're a couple of years into a real preventive maintenance program, our backups will decrease dramatically, thereby freeing those resources. It's just getting over that hump.

Incidentally, we were working on this long before the EPD approached us with the consent order.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/04/11 - 10:07 am
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Thanks for enlightening us.

Thanks for enlightening us. The AC discussion board at it's finest giving the public information.

I've heard before that the ancient lines were poorly designed and are trouble in a modern system. Plus, the age alone of the lines, must be a problem. Good luck with rediverting resources to get you over the hump with the PM.

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