Sewage traced to apartments

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An elusive trickle of sewage entering the Savannah River through an Olde Town storm drain was traced this week to a Telfair Street apartment complex.

"We're already working with the owner and a contractor to fix it as quickly as possible," Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier said.

Workers are using smoke pumped into storm drains as part of an effort to identify the source of elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria entering the river.

On Wednesday, smoke forced into a storm drain at River Glen apartments appeared in a nearby sewer manhole -- an indicator that sewage was flowing into the storm drain.

The leak was calculated at about 4 gallons per minute -- or 5,760 gallons per day.

Wiedmeier said the leak was at a pipe joint in the manhole, which is part of the building's private sewer system.

He was unsure how long it had leaked, saying, "The joint was probably holding when the system was built, but it wasn't when we tested it."

Fixing the problem is a one- to two-day job and will require replacing a 20-foot section of pipe, he said.

Garrett Weiss, the manager of the city's Stormwater and Environmental Section, said the 4-gallon-per-minute flow is not necessarily pure human waste.

"A nearby car wash may also be contributing to the flow," Weiss said.

Although contaminated water entering the river has high bacteria levels, the small flow does not represent an elevated health threat to swimmers in the river.

"As stated previously, as long as no one swims immediately next to the storm pipe outfall, the exposure risk to coliform is the about the same as in any other natural water body flowing through populated areas with humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife," Weiss said.

To put it in perspective, he added, the storm drain's rate of discharge is less than 10 gallons per minute, compared with a typical flow in the Savannah River of 2 million gallons per minute.

Engineers are continuing to search for the source of elevated bacteria levels at another drain on Second Street.

The contamination came to light as part of a project last month by The Augusta Chronicle. Water samples from 50 locations were analyzed for a story on water quality and bacteriological monitoring.

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corgimom 09/10/10 - 01:12 pm
All of the sewer system in

All of the sewer system in Olde Towne is shot to hell, and has been. That was known in the 1980's. You could not pay me to buy property down there. I wouldn't have property down there if it was given to me for free.

The City of Augusta, instead of worrying about its infrastructure problem, chose instead to worry about how to attract business downtown after the malls opened- and neglected it. Now it's falling apart. They were counting on Federal grants to fix it when needed- and now the money isn't there and won't ever be there.

Then they consolidated with RC- so it could be RC's problem, too.

It's bad and it's going to get worse.

Chillen 09/10/10 - 01:18 pm
So if you get in the Savannah

So if you get in the Savannah River in Augusta your're swimming in River Glen Apartment poop?

corgimom 09/10/10 - 05:53 pm
Yes, if you're downstream.

Yes, if you're downstream.

It's one of Augusta's little secrets that they don't like to talk about- they are too busy trying to shove a stadium down taxpayers' throats.

Sweet son
Sweet son 09/10/10 - 07:06 pm
Twenty-five years ago, I used

Twenty-five years ago, I used to visit my wife's grandmother on Newberry St. which is behind the old Fat Man's Forest. Whenever I was visited and we went outside, there was always a smell of sewage coming from the storm drain located in front of the house. The problem is not only in Olde Town but I am sure that it exists city wide in the old storm watter and sewage systems.

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