A study targeting solutions for leaks, breaks and other issues in the town’s water system that cause unnecessary and costly treatment of stormwater, is on track for completion by March 2010, according to an article on Seacoastonline.com.

The Department of Public Works and Underwood Engineers held an informational meeting Wednesday, Sept. 16, on an inflow and infiltration study currently being conducted. The town contracted with Underwood Engineers earlier this year for the study, which will identify areas where rain enters the wastewater system, adding a burden and cost to treatment plant operations.

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Underwood Engineers mailed 3,000 letters to residents notifying them of the project, what it entails and the informational meeting held Wednesday night. Two-hundred and seventy were mailed to houses participating in a pilot area, but only about eight residents attended the meeting.

Inflow and infiltration is when stormwater enters the sewage system, where must undergo the same treatment as wastewater, said Terry Demaris, project engineer with Underwood Engineers. Inflow and infiltration results in unnecessary costs to the town’s treatment plant operations.

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The study, which began this past January and is on schedule to be completed by March 2010, will identify where stormwater is entering the system. It picks up from the last major inflow and infiltration study conducted by the town in 1998, Demaris said.

“There is still work to be done to remove the direct connection that allows water to get in,” he said.

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Currently, the combined flow is transferred to the main pumping station. The system can only handle so much water and, when stormwater is added to the mix, the pump does not have the ability to send the increased volume to the treatment facility. The pumping station will transfer as much water as it can, but the remaining amount is moved to Clemson Pond, where sewage is dumped. The town is required to submit notice of these overflows to the Environmental Protection Agency, Demaris said.

A long-term control plan for the abatement of stormwater inflow and infiltration will be created as a result of this study in an effort to eliminate private and public flow problems. The goal would be to include recommendations to help achieve this in the town’s Capital Improvement Program for an upcoming year, Demaris said.

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Over the next six years, $1.5 million has been included for inflow and infiltration abatement and $2.75 million for sewer line rehabilitation in the town’s CIP. The sewer line rehabilitation will include inflow and infiltration, abatement as well as structural improvements.

Engineers are identifying areas with leaky pipes, leaky sewer manholes, cracks in the sewer lines and other areas where stormwater makes its way into the town’s system.

“We will hope to find any cracks in the system, etc., then look at how that works into the overall scheme of the project and what it means for reducing this excess water,” Demaris said.

Beginning Oct. 5, and lasting for approximately one month, residents in the areas of Jady Hill and West Side Drive may see crews from Flow Assessment Services in their neighborhoods. The crews will be passing out surveys to residents and examining their systems. They can be identified as being associated with the project by badges and their clothing.

Demaris said these crews are not out for any type of enforcement, but rather to identify issues.

“The town is out to determine where these problems are and then find out what works for everyone,” he said. “We want it to be cost effective and to work.”

A similar informational meeting will be held when the inflow and infiltration study is completed next spring.