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Chiefland hears sewer solutions

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By Jeff M. Hardison

Chiefland City Engineer Lee Mills laid out the scene for potential improvements to a couple of possible sewer system issues Oct. 22 when three city commissioners showed up for a workshop.

City Commissioner Frank Buie was in the Veterans Affairs hospital in Gainesville. City Commissioner J. Rollin Hudson Jr. did not attend the workshop either, although Hudson did make it to the regular meeting.

Two pump stations, one located near Scoggins Chevrolet and one located near McDonald's are critical points in the sewer system now. These lift stations have exceeded capacity on four and five occasions in the past six months, Mills said.

A two-phase tentative proposal by Mills would add a new pump station just south of the recently built Levy County Emergency Medical Service unit near the Post Office. That would cost about $100,000, he estimated. In Phase II, Mills said he would replace a stretch of 6-inch force mains pipes with 10-inch pipes and this would cost about $250,000, he roughly estimated.

Mills said these proposals are not necessarily the only or the best solution. This is just what he sees as improving the most critical needs now.

More importantly, Mills said, the city needs to establish a strategy so that developers can be told they will not always be able to connect to the closest point on the sewer system.

For instance, the proposed large commercial development slated to be near the future home of Tri-County Hospital might have to run pipe down to the lift station near First Baptist Church of Chiefland, Mills said, because the two lift stations closest to this point are at a critical level of use already.

Building and Zoning Director W.T. "Bill" Hammond Jr. said two retail outlets and two restaurants on the end of the Radio Shack are other potential impacts on the system in the area that is currently the most stressed in the city.

Mayor M. Teal Pomeroy instructed Mills to work with City Manager Grady Hartzog Sr., Hammond, Water and Facilities Manager Shane Keene and Wastewater Supervisor Randy Wilkerson.

This will be a continuation of studies that have lasted for the previous six months. In that time, Mills saw rain added water to be processed by the sewer system.

Leakage of rain into the system, Mills said, is typical for any city. There are methods to reduce the impact from heavy rain events, he added. Vice Mayor Teresa Barron said she would like to see a reduction in the impact to the Chiefland sewer system from the influx of rain.

Mills and Wilkerson said they planned to meet to find methods of measuring the level pressure in the force main pipes, as well as to determine when different lift stations are triggered during the day.

Just as there are times of day when demand on water is heavy, the same is true for the sewer system.