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Sewer rehab program having success

The Decatur Utilities Board of Directors approved a resolution on Thursday, April 18, accepting DU's annual Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Program (MWPP) reported that DU had zero rain-induced Sanitary Sewer Overflows during CY2023. The last reported rain-induced SSO occurred in March of 2022 - more than two years ago.

The MWPP is an initiative by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the public's investment in wastewater treatment facilities and to take action before violations of permit limits and degradation of water quality occur.

Under the MWPP grading system, DU received just 10 points - compared to 113 points in CY2022, when 13 SSOs occurred. The 10 points assigned for CY2023 were solely for the age of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Decatur Utilities General Manager Ray Hardin said the outstanding MWPP for CY23 is reflective of the significant reduction in rain-induced SSOs seen since the 10-year sanitary sewer rehabilitation plan began in 2021.

"This rehab effort is already showing outstanding results," Hardin said. "I'm very proud of how our Gas, Water, Wastewater Operations are managing such a massive undertaking. Construction of a new headworks at the WWTP and other associated projects will continue to improve the efficiency of our sanitary sewer collection and treatment infrastructure."

Jimmy Evans, GWWW Operations Manager, said approximately 300,000 linear feet of sewer mains have been replaced so far. In addition, approximately 800 manholes have been refurbished. The reduction in rain-induced SSOs can be attributed to the installation of the new pipe and the fact that rain water is no longer able to infiltrate the system as much as in years past.

Tom Cleveland, Water Resources Manager, said construction of the new headworks at the WWTP is slated to begin later this year.

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