Moving ahead with a planned $14 million sewer overhaul in Forestville, city councilors last unanimously agreed to pay a consultant $610,000 to carry out the necessary fieldwork and designs to make it possible to begin construction.
The project aims to prevent floodwaters from pouring into the city’s sewer system during heavy rains and to create a more efficient operation by adding two new sewer lines, new pumps and a number of other upgrades to the sewer system that serves eastern Bristol.
Without the improvements, city officials have said there is nothing they can do to prevent rainwater from pouring into the system at times, overburdening the treatment plant and sometimes even swamping at pump station itself.
There are areas where sewage is swept out of the system through popping manholes during floods, carrying tainted water into basements and beyond, a problem that residents and health officials are unhappy with.
Consultants found that the root cause is a bottleneck in the pipes between the pump station and the treatment plant, a situation that needs a 24-inch pipe to be added for a couple of miles.
A number of upgrades are also in the works for the pump station, including new, energy efficient pumps that should work much better and cut electrical costs.
The city has taken steps to make sure the necessary pipes were installed under the new Route 72 extension during its construction and through the Southeast Bristol Industrial Park that was recently completed beside the former Superior Electric.
But millions of dollars of work remains to be done, officials said.
The engineering firm of Weston & Sampson, Inc. is slated to carry out the sewer system evaluation study covering the first phase of a multi-year project.
The city maintains about 226 miles of sewers, some a century or more old. It also operates the treatment plant, 14 pumping stations and 5,600 manholes in town.
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