Rains put city sewage system at ‘crisis’ level

Staff Writer

Heavy rains and an aging sewer system are straining West Point’s wastewater treatment system to the point of "crisis."

That’s the news in a report to city leaders from Light and Water Manager Boodro Marsac.

The city received 11.24 inches of rain – twice the average -- in February. That, combined with cracks and cavities in the sewer lines, mean a growing amount of rainwater and runoff are seeping into sewer lines.

“We are still seeing a lot of problems on the main outfall line. The infiltration has now become an issue with our lagoons and detention ponds being at max capacity,” Marsac wrote in his monthly report to the mayor and Board of Selectmen.

“The wastewater treatment plant is running at max capacity and we are still barely able to keep up.

“We have got to make a large investment back into our aging collection system in the near future to cut down on the flows we are experiencing on our entire system,” he concluded.

The heavy rains are a double whammy, not only filling up the treatment system but also delaying repairs.

For instance, a line broken along a drainage area that leads from Cottrell Street to Lake Louise along North Division has been a problem for weeks. A contract has been awarded to move and repair the line, but the work has been delayed for more than a month.

And over-worked lines create more breaks, producing a “never-ending circle.”

The main outflow line runs from North Eshman near the National Guard Armory and Royal Truck east and then south across Main Street to beyond Bryan Foods and then west to the treatment plant.

That is a major area of more than two miles that sometimes is not easy to access. The city hopes to have the entire route surveyed to see what needs to be replaced and what can be repaired with interior lining.

“The rain really is causing more problems than we can count,” Marsac said last week.

In other monthly department head reports to the mayor and board, the fire department went a second straight month without a fire. Firefighters responded to 19 calls in February. Nine of those involved responses to traffic accidents or medical assists. Two gas leaks and a gas spill and five false alarms were among the responses.

The Police Department’s traffic unit wrote 162 citations in February, including 37 for driver’s license violations, 35 for no insurance, 13 for license tag violations, and 21 for not wearing a seat belt. Officers made 16 DUI arrests.

Officers made 61 arrests, including 17 for simple assault, six each for malicious mischief and misdemeanor domestic violence, four each for disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and shoplifting, and three for telephone harassment.

Detectives investigated five auto burglaries, making arrests in four of them, made an arrest in the month’s one aggravated assault case, and made an arrest in one of three reported grand larcenies. Meanwhile, the narcotics unit made arrests for possession of cocaine and possession of heroin, three for possession of marijuana and three for possession of other controlled substances.