City works to develop sewer system assessment

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Effort will address Erwin Farm overflows

By Jesef Williams

Officials will try to pinpoint the problems with the oldest section of the city of Lancaster’s sewer system.

After a closed session during its July 23 meeting, Lancaster City Council voted unanimously to follow an administrative order from the Environmental Protection Agency – requiring the city to develop a sewer assessment to reduce overflows in the Erwin Farm area.

City Administrator Helen Sowell said those lines, originally installed by Springs Industries, are now about 75 years old.

“The assessment will include testing to determine storm water infiltration into the system as well as wastewater flow,” she said. “The results of this study will establish which lines need repairing or replacing.” 

The cost of the assessment remains undetermined. All expenditures for the project will come from city’s gross revenue fund.

Lines in the Erwin Farm area collect wastewater from residents who are city of Lancaster customers, as well as Lancaster County Water and Sewer District customers.

Although most of the lines involved in the study belong to the city, they mostly serve county residents who live outside the city limits.

Last week’s vote comes a few months after City Council authorized an engineering study to get advice on improving the sewer infrastructure in the area.

“City Council and staff are committed to assessing and correcting these issues in a timely manner,” Sowell said.

The city recently received a $350,000 grant to upgrade the Northside pump station in that area. The total cost of the project will be about $522,000.

“Not only will this improve the overall ability of the system to transfer wastewater but will also significantly increase the capacity of the pump station to handle larger quantities of water during storm events,” Sowell said.

County Council is also looking to obtain grant money to address some of the area’s collection lines.


Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152