sewer

Rehabilitating the Memphis Sewer System, Proactively

Memphis has entered into a consent decree that requires assessments of the sewer system.  The City is doing all it needs to do in order to clean up the sanitary sewers in neighborhoods.  The outline for the overhaul is to focus on repairing the sewer lines and manholes.  Areas of Midtown, downtown, and Hickory Hill will all be included in what’s being called SARP10 for the Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation Program.  The project is estimated to cost $250 million and will take nearly a decade to complete.  This initiative is expected to go a long way in eliminating the multiple sanitary sewer overflows, as well as, minimizing breaks in the pipelines.

The basic premise for the city’s sewer system dates back to the late 1870s, following the Yellow Fever epidemic that killed 5,000 Memphians. That’s when George Waring, Jr., a drainage engineer for New York’s Central Park, developed a state-of-the-art (for the time) system that separated the sanitary system from the storm water. Most of the original system was made from wooden pipes, although, almost all of those have been replaced over the years. So far, only one wooden pipe was discovered during the assessment.  The City also plans to solicit the help of volunteers to inform residents of various tests that will be performed to ensure the pipelines are intact and free from leaks or if there is evidence of a pipeline in need of repair.

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