By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
City officials moved forward with more improvements to Muskogee’s sewer and stormwater collection system in an effort to satisfy the terms of a consent order mandating the upgrades.
The Public Works Committee approved a permit for the rehabilitation of one of more than 20 lift stations – structures that use pumps to move sewage to higher elevations –– scheduled for improvements. The lift station for which the permit was issued serves the 48th Street area on the city’s west side.
The work will involve the installation of two 260-gallon-per-minute self-priming pumps and other upgrades. The permit was issued by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, which also issued the consent order under which the city operates its wastewater and stormwater collection system.
Public Works Director Mike Stewart said the rehabilitation project ties in with all the other upgrades being made to the city’s sewer and wastewater collection and transportation system. He said the permit keeps the design phase moving forward and getting the project ready to bid.
“Under the consent order, we are obligated to do all this testing and making improvements where necessary,” Stewart said. “This keeps us moving forward with projects required by the consent order.”
ODEQ initially issued the consent order in 2008 after thousands of gallons of raw sewage spilled into a tributary of Coody Creek, which empties into the Arkansas River. The agency modified its order in March 2010, requiring the city to upgrade its wastewater collection system to eliminate unpermitted discharges.
The amended order required a systemwide inspection and the development of a master plan for rehabilitation. Stewart said those inspections exposed serious problems with the east side interceptor line, a project expected to be put out for bids in the next couple of months.
Stewart said the findings of recent testing of sewer and stormwater lines in other parts of the city are expected to be released in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the third and final phase of the $12 million Coody Creek project is under way.
Most of the improvements being made or planned for the wastewater and stormwater collection and transportation system are being funded by revenue from a five-year, 0.325-cent sales tax.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.