No more sewer overflows in city, according to report
by David Atchison
PELL CITY — Just a few years ago there were hundreds of sewer overflows in the city, now there are none.

“This is a pretty amazing report,” said city manager Patrick Draper. “These guys have done a tremendous job.”

Sewer overflows, or the lack thereof, was reflected in the city’s new 2013 Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Annual Report.

On Monday, the City Council approved submitting the required annual report to the Alabama Department of Environment Management.

Byron Woods, an engineer with Municipal Consultants of Birmingham, which is contracted with the city for engineering services, was all smiles Monday when he addressed the council about the MWPP report.

“We are below any kind of radar with ADEM,” Woods said.

He said it was the first time the MWPP has reflected the city’s sewer system in such stellar condition.

“Three years ago, there were 280 sewer overflows,” Woods said.

The city spent nearly $24 million in sewer rehabilitation and upgrades to the Dye Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The city was under an ADEM consent order to fix all its sewer overflow problems by 2012 or face stiff fines.

On Feb. 6, 2006, ADEM officials observed a major sanitary sewer overflow from the city’s sewer system. At the time, ADEM officials said several hundred gallons of raw sewage ran into Blue Springs and ultimately into Logan Martin Lake.

State officials said rain water leaked into the aging sewer system, causing sewage overflows when it rained.

Construction workers replaced aging sewer pipes and re-lined other sewer pipes to prevent the infiltration of rain water. The city also installed new lift stations to help prevent sewer from backing up, causing sewer overflows in different sections of the city, including areas in Eden, Avondale and property closer to the Dye Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The recently submitted MWPP report reflected the results of all the work that was completed.

“Total infiltration — 0, Other – 0,” the report states.

According to the report, 75 percent of the city’s wastewater comes from residential communities, while 24 percent is attributed to industries.

There were no major problems noted in the MWPP report, and the summery points for the system, 60 points, was at an historic low for the city.

“The plant has exceeded the projected life expectancy by eight years, however, two major upgrades have been completed at the plant in the past nine years, greatly increasing wet weather and solids handling capacity of the plant,” the report noted.

The report stated the overall condition of the city’s sewer system is good.

“A comprehensive rehabilitation and replacement has been conducted throughout the system during the last seven years,” the MWPP report states. “There are still some sewer pump stations that have outlived their life expectancy. These will be addressed as funding and opportunity allow.”

The report states that within the next five years, the city will replace or repair older sewer lift stations and make additional improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.

Contact David Atchison at

© 2013