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Wastewater collection overwhelmed by rain

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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of stories on Durant’s infrastructure needs based on a report presented to the Durant City Council last summer by Brandon Wall of Wall Engineering.

Last July, Brandon Wall, of Wall Engineering in Durant presented a report to the Durant City council on the city’s most pressing infrastructure needs.

Wall examined each system, prioritizing long and short-term issues facing each and the estimated cost of repairs.

Next month, the Durant City Council will appoint a citizen’s task force to study infrastructure. According to City Manager Tim Rundel, the task force’s mandate includes investigating funding options to pay for recommended projects. Rundel said this would be an opportunity for residents, including the council’s critics, to realize the magnitude of the city’s infrastructure needs.

Wall’s report came in the wake of a contentious bond election in which city leaders tried to convince voters to approve $20 million in bonds for street and drainage repairs. Voters strongly rejected the proposal.

The last story covered the needs of the city’s wastewater treatment plant. According to Brandon Wall, of Wall Engineering, said the plant is operating at near capacity. Today’s story covers two systems which contribute to the plant’s problems.

The wastewater collection system collects and transfers sewage to the wastewater treatment plant to be treated and disposed. Wall said the system generally works well, but when the weather is rainy, the stormwater drainage system is overwhelmed. This combined with leaks in the wastewater collection system greatly increases the effluent into the wastewater treatment plant.

“The average for the wastewater treatment plant is around 3 million gallons into the plant,” Wall said. “But when it rains heavily it can go as high as 12 million.”

According to the report Wall made to the city last July, the inflow and infiltration of stormwater runoff gets in through leaks in the system threatening to overload the treatment plant. He said the system needs an evaluation study involving running cameras through the system which would run about $690,000. He estimated repairs to the collection system would cost about $10 million bringing the total long-term cost at approximately $10.7 million.

At the same time, the stormwater drainage system needs major upgrades. Wall said it is common knowledge that the system becomes overwhelmed during storms which results in some flooding in addition to the impact on the wastewater collection system.

This system would require a similar study which would cost about $950,000. Wall estimated the cost of repairs to be approximately $8 million.

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