Clogged drain channels force emergency measures for city 6/23/2015

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 23, 2015

David Karr

Clogged drain channels force emergency measures for city

By John Howell
Batesville Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent David Karr says that the facility has experienced increasing problems from “ragging” in the last two months, prompting emergency repairs.

Karr made, during the Tuesday, June 16 meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen, a request for an emergency expenditure to drain channels that carry effluent to lagoons at the facility on Panola Avenue next to the Tallahatchie River. The solid debris — “rags” — accumulates and blocks the flow, Karr said. A contractor will be hired remove the material from the channels and transport it to an approved landfill, he said.

Aldermen unanimously approved the emergency expenditure, that brings the total spent on emergency contracts in the last two months to $80,000.

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“Ragging,” Karr said, is the name given to the mixture of fibrous materials — “This garbage sucked up in those lines,” Karr said, — that enter the wastewater system and coalesce as it travels through the pipes.

During the wastewater superintendent’s conversations with the mayor and aldermen at recent meetings, he has cited a variety of possible contributors to the ragging from grease in sewer lines and unidentified industrial materials discharged with wastewater to foreign objects flowing with storm runoff into sewer pipes where covers have been removed from manholes in remote locations.

Karr’s discussions about the immediate problems from ragging have been held against an ongoing backdrop of his discussion about preparation underway to bring the city’s wastewater treatment facility into compliance with stringent environmental regulations that are expected to be adopted in the next several years.

In other matters of public works discussed during the June 16 meeting:
• Aldermen instructed the water department to purchase a replacement pump for a water well in Dogwood Hills after a pump failure there;

• Assistant City Engineer Byron Houston said that he is seeking legal descriptions to allow easements for repairs and maintenance to gambion walls that stabilize the banks of a creek flowing near Hickory Lane. The walls were damaged during heavy rains in April;

• Code Administrator Pam Comer said that a cleanup hearing for Armstrong Street property owned by Marvel Thomas was unnecessary. She presented photos that showed the property had been cleaned up;

• Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell told the mayor and aldermen that real estate appraiser Jerry Brewer is completing appraisals of property for relocation of the city’s natural gas line near the Tallahatchie River.

The Mississippi Dept. of Transportation has told the city to have the line relocated by November to allow construction to begin in January to build a replacement bridge across the river.