City to address sewer overflow

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Council allocates $70K for study

By Jesef Williams

Many city of Lancaster sewer customers will one day benefit directly from ongoing efforts to assess wastewater overflow issues.

Following a closed session during its Tuesday, Aug. 13, meeting, City Council voted unanimously to use $70,800 in city money for an assessment of the sewer system near the Northside pump station. Affected areas include Kings Circle, Old Greenbriar Drive and West Arch Street.

This action stems from ongoing talks with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which mandated the study.

City Administrator Helen Sowell said age and stormwater infiltration have largely contributed to the overflow issue. She said many of the homes in area, along with the sewer and water systems, were built by Springs Industries many years ago.

“While efforts have regularly been made to repair and replace lines as needed, EPA has stated that our efforts have not significantly reduced or stopped sanitary sewer overflows,” Sowell said.

The city will spend the next two years evaluating the sewer system in the area and develop construction plans.

“For problems requiring larger capital expenses, the city will seek available grant funding and loans,” Sowell said.

The Northside station is one of 17 pump (or lift) stations, which help move wastewater through areas where slopes and elevations won’t allow natural flow.

All wastewater flows into the city’s wastewater treatment plant on Lockwood Lane. It’s then prepared to be pumped back into the Catawba River.

In June, City Council approved a contract with engineering firm W.K. Dickson to provide planning and project management for the pump station improvements.

Earlier in the year, the city received a $350,000 grant from the S.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority. The city agreed to match the grant with $172,000 of its own money.

The $172,000 is part of the city’s 2013-14 budget.

The upgrades will more than double the amount of wastewater the Northside pump station can handle. City staff didn’t give dates for when the project will start and end.

The contract, though, says construction will take between eight and 13 months.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152