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Sewer repair carries hefty price tag

WOODLAND – The Town of Woodland is looking into ways to pay for an estimated $2 million repair bill for its sewer system.

The Town Council commissioned the Wooten Company out of Raleigh to study the effectiveness of the town’s wastewater treatment system.

During the most recent Council meeting, the Wooten Company presented the results of its study conducted on the Woodland sewer system. It concluded half of the flow to the town’s treatment system is from groundwater and storm water.

Robert Collier, the Woodland wastewater treatment director, said he knew there was an I&I (inflow and infiltration) problem, which the study confirms.

This study confirms that the pipes, joints in the pipes, manholes, and pumping stations need extensive repair or replacement.

Collier said the I&I problems essentially, “Doubles our wastewater treatment budget.”

The customers of the system pay for the doubled treatment costs through their monthly sewer bills.

Will Larsen of Wooten said during his PowerPoint presentation to the Town Council that they had performed smoke testing of the sewer system in the town and had checked 86 of the town’s manholes.

Larsen said of 470 observations of the system, they found 120 defects. In addition he said three of four pump stations the town operates need work. Collier said pump station one and two are in fairly good shape, but that stations three and four really need work.

Collier said some sections of the wastewater system “is very old.” Those were the sections Wooten studied most closely during their inspection.

Larsen said they found broken pipes and holes in the pipes that introduce groundwater directly into the treatment process.

In a detailed report of their findings, Larsen said it would cost about $2 million to get the system in repair the findings.

The Town Council was hearing the results of the Sewer Evaluation Study for the first time and took no action at this time.

Collier said he and the Council would be looking at possible grant programs that may get the job done, which would be a three-phase process.