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1127 Highway 74 South • Peachtree City, GA 30269

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PCWASA responds to sewer overflow caused by pavement debris

Mar 3, 2014 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.


The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority used its bypass pump, similar in purpose to the one pictured, to assist with a sewer system overflow in February and avoid a more serious environmental incident.

During his General Manager’s Report at the March meeting of the Board of Directors of the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority, Stephen Hogan provided an update on a sewer system overflow in February, noting the wise investment in equipment that helped avert a potentially worse environmental emergency.

On Feb. 9, the Authority was notified around 1:00 p.m. of an overflowing manhole behind customer residences on Grecken Green, located in the Braelin Golf Course community. The Authority responded with its vacuum/jet truck to attempt to clean the sewer line causing the manhole overflow, per industry response protocol. However, after several attempts, the line remained clogged.

“When our crew assessed that these initial attempts to unclog the line were unsuccessful, they determined that more drastic measures were needed before conditions of the overflow worsened,” notes Hogan.

PCWASA field personnel then brought in the Authority’s bypass pump, which was purchased last fall to take care of such potential crises. As a result of the by-pass pumping made possible by the new equipment, the overflow stopped around 7:30 p.m. and a more critical emergency was averted. The cause of the sewer line blockage and subsequent manhole overflow was asphalt pavement debris, which somehow made its way into the sewer system. The flow exiting from the manhole reached a tributary of Flat Creek, which eventually winds up in Line Creek.

The resulting 8,960 gallons of estimated overflow could have been worse, says Hogan, if it not for the wise investment by the Authority of approximately $32,000 in the bypass pump, purchased this fiscal year.

Instead, the incident was considered a “minor” overflow, as the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) classifies overflows of 10,000 gallons or less. However, this event could have escalated into a “major” overflow (of 10,000 gallons or more) with more serious consequences, notes Hogan.

“The bypass pump has already paid for itself by giving us another alternative for working with our system, and we believe it will provide a return on this investment many times over for the Authority and our customers,” adds Hogan.

Hogan notes that there was never any danger to a drinking water source, nor was there a hazard to public health, as a result of this manhole overflow in February. This was the first overflow within the PCWASA system since 2010. As a result of the event, the Authority issued a spill report to regulatory agencies and downstream systems, posted signs at the site of the overflow, and tested the impacted stream’s water with samples taken above and below the spill site, all according to EPD protocol.

In addition to averting a potentially hazardous environmental incident within the PCWASA system in February, the Authority’s bypass pump is being considered for future facility and system maintenance issues at Fayette Water System as well. Hogan says officials from Fayette County and the Fayette Water System have requested the use of the Authority’s bypass pump for draining the sedimentation basins and lagoons at the Crosstown Water Plant, where the Authority previously assisted the County with water quality issues last year.

Media contact:
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
770-757-1681 (phone)
jcwood@uga.edu OR chris@jwapr.com (email)

Tagged: pcwasa, wasa, peachtree city water and sewerage authority, fayette water system, georgia environmental protection division, epd