City’s new sewer lift station malfunctions resulting in sewer spill

Cairo city officials say the city’s new $700,000 sewer lift station located at Seventh Avenue S.E. suffers from a design flaw, which resulted in a sewer spill at the lift station Oct. 15-16.
According to city officials, approximately 9,900 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Little Tired Creek as a result of a malfunction.
“We are still trying to determine why a breaker was tripped. We never lost power to the station, but a breaker tripped, which resulted in the sewer spill,” Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said.
The city manager updated the city council on the recent sewer spill at the council’s meeting Monday night.
According to Addleton, an alert system using a phone line to notify city personnel of an issue at the station was not included in the plant’s design.
“It should have been designed into the control panel, but it wasn’t,” Addleton said.
City officials recently brought the matter to the attention of the engineers who designed the plant.
Since the Oct. 15-16 sewer spill, an auto dialer with battery back-up has been installed at the lift station. Addleton says that eventually he would like for all lift stations to be hooked up to the city’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system like the city’s existing water plants.
“As much as that lift station cost, how did that get left out?” Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas asked Monday night.
“It was very disappointing and it is extremely embarrassing for the engineers. Their electrical guy failed to put in a very common component for lift stations,” Addleton said.
The city is monitoring upstream and downstream of the spill point as required by state guidelines and will continue to do so for the next 12 months.
The new Seventh Avenue S.E. lift station went on line earlier this year. It was built by RTD Construction, Inc., of Zephyrhills, Fla., at a cost of $709,377.50. The engineers on the project was Wiedeman & Singleton of Atlanta.

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