Warren to study water woes

WARREN – During the next several months, City Water Pollution Control Director Tom Angelo will ask council to approve engineering studies on the areas that cause the city the most concerns during heavy rains to determine how much it will cost to do repairs and needed upgrades.

Council on Wednesday approved funding to do engineering studies on sanitary and storm sewer problems being faced by residents living in the Star Allotment and the Eastland drainage area.

“I am planning to present council members legislation for engineering studies on areas identified with having sewer problems through the end of the year,” Angelo said on Tuesday during the council’s finance committee. “Using the results of these studies, we will be able to report what needs to be done and how much each of the projects will cost.”

Using that information, council and the administration will be able to determine whether the city has the budget to complete the various repairs or to determine which projects to prioritize.

Councilman Vince Flask questioned what happened to the funds earned through a rate increase approved by council in 2010 that was supposed to pay for repairs to the sewer system.

Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at large, questioned why Angelo is asking council for engineering studies on sewer lines around the city at this time and why these lines were selected first.

“I am following the requests made by council this summer,” Angelo said.

Rucker said Angelo presented council with sewer upgrade and repair plans nearly 10 years ago that focused on specific areas. She suggested the whole city’s sewer system should have been studied back in 2004.

“All the lines in the city are old, not in just these areas,” Rucker said. “There are some lines that tend to break more often because of their age that were not on the original list.”

Storm water sewer projects identified in the original study included work on University Street, Country Club/Golf Drive, Tod avenue, Eastland drainage area, and Coit Avenue. A combined sewer separation project in the downtown area was added as a result of an U.S. EPA order.

Three of the projects, University Street, Country Club/Golf Drive and the Combined sewer separation are completed.

Work has started but has not been completed on the sewer projects in the Eastland drainage area and Coit Avenue. The Eastland drainage area was designed to be done in four phases. Only its first phase has been completed.

No work has been done on proposed sewer projects on Millikin Place N.E. or Tod Avenue, in the Olympic Street area.

Possible projects identified earlier this year include non-specific areas of the sixth ward as well as Star Allotment.

Angelo said the list of projects reviewed in 2004 was created based on the number of complaints the city received from residents and businesses.

Star Allotment, which was not on the original list of projects, was chosen as one of the first areas to study because after heavy rainfalls earlier this summer which caused numerous houses and neighborhoods to be flooded residents bombarded the city with complaints.

Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th ward, and the administration met with residents about their flooding concerns in early September. At one meeting, Mayor Doug Franklin told the residents that finding out what is causing their flooding problems would be a priority.

Angelo said Star Allotment has had sanitary as well as some storm drain problems since before the area was annexed into the city because the system was not done correctly when it was originally built by residents.