Purdy sewer now pumping to Monett

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Concern remains over closed overflow lagoon

Purdy's long running battle over its sewer system has apparently ended with the beginning of pumping effluent to Monett's wastewater treatment plant on Dec. 4.

Public Works Supervisor Lonnie Lowery reported a problem last month delayed the start. An engineer misunderstood the pumping demands of the system and programmed the main pump station to provide continuous pressure rather than intermittent pressure because gravity flow assists the process. Pumps have since been reprogrammed and are now switching back and forth automatically, rather than requiring a manual switch.

Monett crews also made a few adjustments at their plant. Monett Utilities Superintendent Skip Schaller said issues surfaced with the meter at the Monett facility installed to duplicate the reading at Purdy's end. A sample station between the two initially did not work so other samples were taken from another manhole until adjustments led to consistent readings.

“We have been receiving effluent from their lagoon for at least a couple weeks now with no issues at all to our plant,” Schaller said.

As for the pressure issue, Schaller said it is not out of the ordinary.

“Those are all normal adjustments with starting up a pressure line, especially with one going around seven miles,” he said. “[Purdy's system] is a bit more complicated than what we have for pressure lines here.”

Lowery noted Monett officials did not want to receive more than 400 gallons of effluent per minute from Purdy. Equipment placed will provide up to 350 gallons per minute. Lowery said the city's flow, now that it has started, measures 135 gallons per minute. That means the city can double its production before surpassing the system's limits, he said.

Lowery, nonetheless, expressed concern that a problem remains with the redesigned sewer operation in Purdy. In response to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' insistence on closing the city's west lagoon, which served as a retention pond in a high water event, Lowery said the west end of city's system will now overflow, without a lagoon to catch what will not pump.

Doubling the capacity of the west lift station could alleviate the problem, Lowery said. City Manager and Clerk Debbie Redshaw, suggesting DNR's dislike of lagoons led to this new scenario, said she would raise the issue with engineers. 

Most recent work has focused on pumping the east lagoon dry. Lowery said that will take an additional pump to lower the level beyond what has already been done. An overflow pipe will need to be installed into the east lagoon to catch what will not pump under heavy rain situations. Otherwise the lagoon will stay dry, he said.

Council members expressed concern that they still had no clear idea what money was still available from the bond issue to purchase sewer related equipment. They approved purchase of a line locater if covered by grant money. Lowery said he has used a borrowed unit from Wheaton. Cost would run around $7,200  and have GPS capacity for recording service lines.

Lowery would also like to purchase a jetter for cleaning out sewers and a video camera for identifying cracks. With those, he said the city could conduct its own smoke testing, even in the winter.

“Infiltration is still a big deal here,” Lowery said. “If we have a big rain, it goes straight into the sewer.”

Redshaw noted that past sewer line work has not been followed by repairs. Earlier smoke testing by Ace Pipe Cleaning received no follow-up work. She advised tackling the city in small pieces, a block or two at a time, then making repairs before moving on.

Lowery added city fire hydrants still needed to be tested for pressure capacity.

“The last time the fire department did it they crashed the water system,” Lowery said.

“They were a little aggressive,” said Mayor Pro Tem Brian Bowers.

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